A Milwaukee jury found Badger Guns and its owner liable in the wounding of two police officers in a first-of-its-kind verdict that was being watched nationwide, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. Jurors found Badger Guns broke four laws when a clerk sold a gun that was used to shoot officer Bryan Norberg and former officer Graham Kunisch in the head in 2009. After nine hours of deliberation, the jury announced a verdict that included nearly $6 million in compensatory and punitive damages to the two officers. There will be an appeal.
The case was only the second of its kind nationwide to make it to a jury since Congress passed a law a decade ago holding gun dealers and manufacturers immune from such lawsuits. In the first, a jury found in favor of a gun store in Alaska. The officers’ attorney, Patrick Dunphy, said he knew the case would be tough because of the strong opinions around guns, but it was important to hold this business accountable for making a gun sale so riddled with red flags. “I didn’t want to send a message, I wanted to represent my clients, these two police officers,” Dunphy said. “Will it change the way things are done around the country? Time will tell.” Brett Heaton Juarez, the jury’s foreperson, said the jurors all agreed the business practices of Badger Guns were shoddy.