Gun control advocates filed a groundbreaking lawsuit in Chicago Wednesday seeking to make companies that sell firearms over the Internet more accountable, reports the city’s Tribune. The lawsuit filed by the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence specifically names Armslist.com, an Internet gun website that links gun sellers with potential buyers. It was filed on behalf of the family Jitka Vesel, 36, a former Chicago elementary school teacher who was killed last year by a stalker. According to the complaint, the killer purchased the gun illegally in a sale facilitated by Armslist.
The lawsuit is the first of its kind against a gun website for causing a shooting, but attorneys said they hope the case will lead to stricter government controls for Internet gun sales that currently are largely unregulated. “Gun sellers and website operators who knowingly funnel guns to killers and criminals must be held accountable,” said Jonathan Lowy, the Brady Center's legal action project director and counsel for the family. “We as a nation are better than an anonymous Internet gun market where killers and criminals can easily get guns.” Lowry said that sales conducted over the Internet often have been linked to illegal gun trafficking, sales to minors as well as mass shootings at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University.