Jun 27, 2021 - Economy & Business

Texas court rules retailer can't be sued over mass shooting

A man prays at a memorial where 26 crosses were placed to honor the 26 victims killed at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs on November 9, 2017 in Sutherland Springs, Texas.
A memorial to the 25 victims killed at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs on November 9, 2017 in Sutherland Springs, Texas. 20 people were wounded in the attack. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Survivors and families of victims of a 2017 mass shooting in a Texas church can't sue the gun retailer that sold the weapon used in the attack, the state's supreme court has ruled.

The big picture: Plaintiffs alleged in four lawsuits against Academy Sports and Outdoors that the San Antonio-area store negligently sold the gun to Devin Kelley in 2016, who went on to kill 25 people at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs before killing himself.

  • The Air Force failed to enter Kelley's conviction for domestic violence against his wife and infant son into a government database, which should have prevented him from buying the Ruger AR-556 rifle.

What they're saying: The Texas Supreme Court ruled Friday that the retailer was protected from litigation under the federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.

  • "Although federal law disqualified Kelley from purchasing a firearm at the time of the sale — based in part on his conviction in a 2012 court-martial for assaulting his wife and stepson and his dishonorable discharge from the United States Air Force — that disqualifying information was not in the system, which authorized Academy to 'Proceed' with the sale," the court stated.
  • The court noted in its ruling that federal litigation over the Air Force's handling of the incident was still before the courts.

Read the court's ruling in full, via DocumentCloud:

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