The families of eight Washington, D.C., sniper victims reached two settlements totaling $2.5 million yesterday with the dealer and manufacturer of the rifle used in the fall 2002 sniper shooting spree, reports the Seattle Times. The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence said it was the first time a gun manufacturer has agreed to pay a settlement to victims. Bushmaster Firearms Inc. of Maine will pay $550,000, all of which is covered by an insurance policy. Bull’s Eye Shooter Supply, in Tacoma, will pay $2 million, the largest settlement of its kind by a gun dealer, the Brady Center said. “This settlement sends a loud message to all gun manufacturers that they can’t look the other way when their guns are being irresponsibly sold or secured at the retail level,” said Jon Lowy of the Brady Center.
“Bushmaster didn’t pay a dime out of its own pocket and will continue to follow its same responsible business practices,” said Bushmaster attorney Steve Fogg. Bushmaster did not admit any wrongdoing, but said the money “will go to the victims’ families for their grief.” Bull’s Eye could not account for the sales of 238 weapons when Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents conducted an audit. Owners blamed the disappearances on shoplifters. Authorities think sniper Lee Boyd Malvo shoplifted the rifle – in a police interview, Malvo referred to it as a “donation.”