Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Parents of slain teenagers sue family members of the shooter for not keeping the guns out of his hands. Now this is a trend I want to see MUCH more of.

Courtesy of Courthouse News Service:  

Three students were shot to death a year ago at an Ohio high school because the killer's parents, guardians and uncle failed to keep the gun away from him, the dead students' families claim in court. 

Daniel Parmertor, Russell King Jr. and Demetrius Hewlin were shot to death in the Chardon High School cafeteria on Feb. 27, 2012. Three other students were wounded. 

T.J. Lane III, then 17, shot them with his uncle's .22 caliber pistol, according to the complaint. One day short of a year after the killing, Lane pleaded guilty to three counts of aggravated murder, two counts of attempted aggravated murder and one count of felonious assault. 

In exchange for his plea, prosecutors agreed not to seek the death penalty. He is expected to be sentenced to life in prison. 

The families of the three people he killed sued Lane, his natural parents, his grandparents - who are also his custodial guardians - and his uncle John Bruening, in Lake County Court of Common Pleas. 

Lane was charged as an adult and "a juvenile court judge ruled that Lane was mentally competent despite evidence that he suffers from hallucinations, psychosis and fantasies," according to CBS News. 

The grieving families claim that Lane's parents, grandparents and uncle failed to prevent the shooting, which is described in detail in the complaint. 

"On or about February 27, 2012, defendant Lane, entered the Chardon High School cafeteria with a firearm he had obtained from his uncle, defendant John Bruening," the complaint states. 

 "At that time, Lane shot Daniel Parmertor, Russell King Jr., and Demetrius Hewlin, all of whom were sitting in the cafeteria either eating breakfast or waiting for a bus to take them to a local vocational school. Defendant Lane shot three other students who survived the assault. 

"Defendant Lane fired a total of ten (10) rounds of ammunition from defendant John Bruening's firearm at close range at the plaintiffs. 

"Following the shooting, defendant Lane fled the building and was later apprehended by law enforcement authorities." 

 The families seek compensatory and punitive damages for wrongful death, negligent supervision, parental statutory liability, and loss of consortium.

This is what I have been advocating for all along.

It is not enough that the person who fired the gun is held responsible, it is that those who did not keep that instrument of death out of his hands are punished as well. And I would extend that to gun shop owners, trade show dealers, and ANY individual who sold that weapon without having the purchaser go through an extensive background check beforehand.

On an earlier thread somebody asked if I would be willing to see the victim of a burglary punished twice by also being brought up on charges that resulted from the gun violence perpetrated using a weapon stolen from their house.

My answer to that is, "You bet your ass!"

If the weapon was not registered, locked up in a safe with a combination lock, and with its ammunition stored in a separate location, then yes THAT person should be charged as an accomplice to the crime.

That may seem harsh, but we are talking about lives here, often young lives, and I guarantee we would see a dramatic drop in those if the actual purchaser of these weapons recognized the incredible responsibility they were taking on for themselves with each new gun they added to their arsenal.


  1. Anonymous8:03 AM

    State Lawmakers Pass 7 Sweeping Gun Control Measures


  2. Anonymous8:40 AM

    And there should be taxes, at every level, for every firearm owned. And liability insurance, which should be very expensive, for every firearm owned. All in addition to stiff gun ownership laws.

    1. Anonymous9:11 AM

      Great ideas, Beaglemom!

  3. As a gun owner, I support this action. "Personal Responsibility" - isn't THAT what the GOP is all about?

    Gun owners will learn REAL, REAL FAST to keep these weapons of mass destruction out of easy reach of kids and those with limited capacity when THEY are the ones held personally liable.

    If you just have to own a gun, trigger locks, cable locks through the chamber and gun safes can go a long way in keeping guns from being used by certain predisposed individuals. And, you may be saving more than lives - you may be saving your financial future too...

    If you think about it, we keep better track of where our wallets, cell phones and car keys are than we do guns! That needs to change.

    - KAO

  4. Anonymous8:51 AM

    The National Rifle Associaton will serve as the title sponsor for a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race in April, the Associated Press reported.

    Under the one-year agreement, the race scheduled to be held April 13 at the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas will be known as the "NRA 500."

  5. Randall9:07 AM

    With gun ownership should come great responsibility.

    I support registration and liability insurance.

    I believe gun sales should bear an excise tax, the revenue to be used to offset gun crime and injury.

    I am a gun owner.

    1. Anonymous12:08 PM

      I respect you, sir.

    2. Anonymous12:28 PM

      Ditto here. The insurance doesn't necessarily have to be expensive, per, but setting the minimum level of coverage at $1M (or whatever amount is deemed appropriate) will allow the market to price it appropriately versus the risk.

      An insurance company is going to charge a lower premium to cover a lower risk, so someone with a clean criminal history, proof of gun safety training or certification, proof of appropriate gun storage safe, etc will pay a lower premium.

      Most homeowners with any sense at all carry an umbrella liability policy anyway to protect their assets from things which might happen on their property or in one of their vehicles. Accidents happen.

      We own guns and because we store them in a gun safe that's is bolted into the foundation and we've all been to NRA safety classes, we get a huge break on the additional coverage. It's MY responsibility to store the weapons and ammo properly (and separately), any my insurance company lowers my premium due to the reduced risks. In fact, we have multiple safes for important papers, valuables as well as things which cannot be replaced--- things that have more sentimental value than economic value.

      The riders on the homeowners's policy gives us big savings for having those additional valuables in a safe that has certain fire ratings. It's been so long, I don't recalli if the fire ratinInez for one hour or 2 hrs at certain burn temperatures. What I do know is we've upgraded the safes each time we've moved, and the savings on premium $ has more than paid for the safes and installation many times over in savings on liability coverage as well as on property/casualty coverage on theft. If someone breaks in and carries away one of these safes, then they've destroyed my house with dynamite anyway, so not a clever thief. And if they can carry 300-400 lbs (IF they get the bolts out of the foundation 6 or 8 inches x 8 bolts, if I recall, my 12 gauge won't slow them down anyway. haven't had the tools to drill into the foundation to anchor the safes before now, but of we move again, I'll do it myself and save a couple of hundred bucks. Our ins agent had to come out and check for us to get the discounts anyway.

      This should be a no-brainier. In a capitalist economy, let the market regulate the cost of liability for guns, and let the court system handle compliance issues. I guarantee you that I couldn't afford to have one of our vehicles driven by a minor dependent without proper coverage. It would be negligent to my family on my part. Nor would I allow access to our guns, etc. to someone that I don't know that has proper training and is insured. It's penny wise and pound foolish to take shortcuts on covering your property, anyway.

  6. SHARON9:27 AM

    I agree with that logic, look how the laws on drunk driving changed....if a bartender continues to serve a person (which is obviously drunk) and then allows them to drive, he is held accountable under the law. There is no difference and I also agree there should be liability insurance, just like with a car. A vehicle is registered every year, inspected and demands insurance coverage. You can't buy cigarettes unless you are 18...WTF, its more than time for strict laws.

  7. I'd love to see this happen too.

    But it won't fly in this case.

    If the kid was charged as an adult, they are not going to hold his parents or guardians liable. The *might* be able to stick it to the uncle for failure to secure his weapon and ammunition. Maybe.

    I would sure like to see a LOT more lawsuits along these lines except for the fact that it means more shootings and more deaths in order for those lawsuits to have merit.

    For school shootings where a minor is the perpetrator, this should start to be standard practice. After the criminal case is completed, go after those who negligently provided the guns in civil court. Sue their pants off. Bankrupt them.

    Let the NRA defend them all if they can. Even if they win each case it will cost bucks. Big bucks.

    Expand those civil cases to include the gun shows, gun dealers and manufacturers.

    And include the homeowner's insurance companies. Make it more expensive to own a gun than it is to own certain dog breeds. Homeowner's insurance is higher if you own a rottweiler or German shepherd because of liability if someone is bit. Well, quadruple that for anyone that owns a gun, and make it for EACH gun. That way people will think twice about if they want to pay those high premiums every single year they own every single gun they want to own.

    1. Anonymous12:44 PM

      In a case of vehicular homicide, the driver, if a minor but not the owner of the vehicle, can be charged criminally, and the owner of the vehicle can be sued, which is a civil case. Two separate issues. That's why we as adults have to insure ourselves against loss caused by our dependents. We can't separate ourselves from our kids just because we don't want to pay for losses incurred because of their negligence or ours either. If the event happened when the defendant was a minor, parents or guardian can be held liable for the financial responsibility of loss incurred. Minors can't enter into valid contracts like insurance, with very few exceptions for those who are emancipated and financially self-supporting.

      Long-winded explanation here, but the jist is criminal and civil liability are two different issues and are handled separately, usually in different courts. Think OJ Simpson: Not guilty of murder criminally. Guilty in civil court and judgements were made against him.

  8. Anonymous10:59 AM

    Was that STOP sign shot by Track 'CAIN'T GET RIGHT' Palin on his way to Vandalize a School Bus? Or did Bristol shoot it while on a Wine Cooler Binge? Or did Willow shoot it because she could not read it? Or did TAWD shoot it because the FEDS are closing in? Or did Sarah shoot it with Creppy Chucky's help? BWAHAHAHA, what a Family of Wasillabillies.

  9. Beldar J Conehead11:01 AM

    RIP Dawn Clark Netsch.
    One of the good guys... um... people.


  10. Fortunately, the restrictions about criminal liability do not apply to civil negligence suits.

    Sue them all. Again, and again, and again.

  11. Grrrr!11:58 AM

    This post reminds me of what's been going on in drunk driving cases in recent years: charges have been filed against the bartenders who served drinks to the obviously-inebriated perpetrators.

    IOW, the courts have decided that bartenders shared RESPONSIBILITY for victims' deaths.


    By perverting the murkily-worded 2nd Amendment into an absolution of responsibility, the NRA is literally putting the power of life and death into the hands of people totally unqualified to wield it wisely.

    As if Trayvon Martin's murder wasn't proof enough ... now we've got gun owners shooting at shoplifters and pulling out pistols at Walmart because a discount coupon wasn't honored !

  12. Anonymous11:59 AM

    yeah, sorry Gryphen, am not going to agree with you that people that are victims of a gun theft are then held responsible...I do not believe for 1 second that you believe that if someone's car is stolen and then that car is used in any crime including vehicular homicide that the victim of the car theft should be held accountable. That's insanity pure and simple. Besides, 'ammunition' is not proprietary to a particular gun, therefore that stipulation goes out the window...and what is the difference between a registered and unregistered weapon, especially if the gun is not required to be registered...I am a huge anti-gun advocate, probably more than you, but this argument is utterly ridiculous!

    1. Wrong.

      The primary purpose of an automobile is transportation. A death caused by a car is a deviation from that purpose.

      The ONLY purpose that a gun serves is the ending of life. If you purchase that weapon you accept that it may be used to do that very thing, and it falls to you to ensure that never happens.

      Failure to do so makes you, by virtue of your irresponsibility, complicit in the death that results from the use of that weapon.

      Just like a bar can be charged with involuntary manslaughter (http://tinyurl.com/a9xmpkh) for over serving a patron and then allowing them to drive home, so too should the owner of a gun be held similarly responsible.

    2. As a former lawyer I am always amused when non-lawyers take it upon themselves to make legal arguments.

      There are many distinctions between gun ownership and car ownership. Just as gun manufacturers have been held civilly liable for negligence in the case of death and injury caused by their products, I look forward to gun owners being held civilly liable as well.

  13. Anonymous4:18 PM

    If a gun manufacturer suspects that a gun dealer might be selling out the back door in bulk supplies to criminal organizations or diverting the guns or ammo into restricted countries, and continues to sell to the dealer without notifying ATF or FBI or whatever the appropriate is, I'm certain that they could be held liable for being criminally negligent, or possibly even under RICO laws. When I say, I'm certain, I mean that I'd have my attorney suing everybody's ass in the pipeline of distribution, including the principals in decision-making capacity at the manufacturer PERSONALLY, if I suffered a loss of any kind fur to their conspiratorial negligence. The Feds or State could hang them or put them in prison, but only after we liquidate all of their assets to pay a judgemnt.

    I hope that the Feds will continue to put the heat on all of those mom-and- pop gun shops selling hundreds of thousands of weapons per year in bulk to LA-based gangs. Gun manufacturers are feeding the greed by turning a blind eye bc of their own greed.

  14. Anita Winecooler6:00 PM

    This idea makes a lot of sense and I would think that many members of the NRA would agree.

  15. Boscoe6:17 AM

    I don't agree with this at all. Guilt by association sounds very Nazi-like to me. Anyone who has kids knows it is impossible to keep anything away from them if they are determined to get to it. Let's keep the prosecutions aimed at the people who actually commit the crimes and not drag everyone who happened to live in the same house into it.

    Don't forget, the family of the shooter was devastated by these horrible acts as well. Having a child that is a criminal isn't a crime.

  16. Anonymous10:19 AM

    Why don't all you liberals go live in Australia. Most people buy guns for protection. And while there are a small percentage of negligent people out there, what kind of backwards society do we live in where the criminals are glorified and the law abiding citizens are punished. Bartenders shouldn't be sued or liable. They are doing their job. They are not there to babysit, walk out the door with the person and make sure he doesn't drive. Every human has their own decisions to make. Gun Insurance would never work. 85-90% of all gun deaths are gang on gang or suicides. Gangs won't get insurance and insurance wouldn't do anything for suicides. We need to fix the problem 1) media- needs to stop glorifying and making these killers celebrities 2) do something to help our mentally ill. We shun them. We don't make help accessible.


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