US & Canada

US gun store ordered to pay $6m for 'straw buyer' gun sale

Brew City Shooter's Supply Inc, formerly known as Badger Guns, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (file photo) Image copyright AP
Image caption Badger Guns in Milwaukee - which has since reopened under a new name - has been described by police as the number one crime dealer in the US

A US gun shop has been ordered to pay nearly $6m (£3.9m) in compensation to two police officers severely wounded by a weapon illegally bought there.

A Milwaukee jury found that Badger Guns should have realised that a man buying a firearm in 2009 intended to pass it on to the teenager at his side.

The teenager went on to shoot the two officers in the face when they stopped him riding his bike on the pavement.

Officials said over 500 firearms used in crimes had been traced to the store.

Officers Bryan Norberg and Graham Kunisch sued Badger Guns for negligence after teenager Julius Burton was able to get hold of the Taurus .40-calibre handgun by giving $40 to another man, a so-called "straw buyer", to buy it at the store in West Milwaukee.

In the confrontation with Burton, a bullet shattered eight of Mr Norberg's teeth, blew through his cheek and lodged into his shoulder. Mr Kunisch was shot several times. He lost an eye and part of the frontal lobe of his brain and was forced to retire.

Image copyright Rick Wood/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel via AP
Image caption Officers Bryan Norburg and Graham Kunisch were shot in the face with an illegally-sold gun

Lawyers for store owner Adam Allan claimed he could not be held responsible for the sale and said the sales clerk had been deceived rather than negligent.

But jurors ordered the store to pay Norberg $1.5m and Kunisch $3.6m, along with punitive damages of $730,000.

The officers' lawyer said his clients were "very relieved", but said he anticipated years of appeals.

Burton is serving an 80-year sentence for the attack, while the man who bought the gun for him was jailed for two years.

Officials have described Badger Guns - which has since reopened under a new name, Brew City Shooters Supply, but the same ownership - as the number one crime dealer in America after more than 500 firearms recovered from crime scenes were traced back to it.

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