Badger Gun Trial Decision Has Firearm Industry On Edge

Published: Oct. 15, 2015 at 10:41 AM CDT|Updated: Oct. 15, 2015 at 11:48 AM CDT
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Milwaukee, WI - A landmark lawsuit ruling in Wisconsin holding a gun shop liable for the shooting of two Milwaukee police officers could have national implications.

This ruling comes as tensions in Washington continue to brew over gun control. Some gun experts believe this decision is only going to add fuel to an already contentious debate.

The Badger Gun Trial case involves 18-year-old, Julius Burton. In 2009, the teenager had a friend of his purchase a firearm for him. The two men visited Badger Gun shop. Surveillance video shows the teen giving his friend $40 dollars to go towards the purchase.

A month later, Burton shot two Milwaukee police officers in the face with the same gun, after they stopped him for riding his bike on the sidewalk.

Attorneys for the police say the store's gun clerk knowingly sold the firearms illegally.

The store clerk argues he did not know he was conducting an illegal sale, known as a "straw purchase." However, it was not enough to convince jurors, who believed the gun shop shared some responsibility.

Many gun experts now believe this verdict could have national implications.

In 2005, federal lawmakers passed the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. Wayne LaPierre, former executive vice president for The National Rifle Association called it, "the most significant piece of pro-gun legislation in twenty years into law."

Opponents say this law essentially makes it more difficult to hold the gun industry accountable.

Legal experts are now wondering will this case stand in the appeals process.

In 2005, more than 500 guns from crimes were traced back to that same Wisconsin gun shop. It's also ranked the number one gun dealer in America.