A Boston police officer who was injured in a 2016 shooting has filed a lawsuit against a website used by gun buyers and sellers.
In the complaint filed at Suffolk Superior Court, Officer Kurt Stokinger alleges Armslist operates a negligent online marketplace that enables dangerous people to buy and sell weapons.
“Officer Stokinger almost lost his life because a dangerous felon, who should never have had a gun, was able to get one,” said Jonathan Lowy, an attorney with the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
After sites like eBay and Craigslist stopped allowing the sale of guns, Lowy said Armslist was established. Self marketed as an online gun show, the site does not require sellers to conduct any background checks.
“It’s created an easy market for people to sell guns without background checks,” Lowy said, “And to circumvent federal and state gun laws.”
Prior to the shooting, a gun trafficker purchased 30 to 63 guns, according to Lowy, from Armslist. One of those was allegedly then sold to Grant Headley, who is accused of shooting Stokinger in the leg during a pursuit on a street in Dorchester.
In comparison to other sites, Lowy said Armslist has refused to implement any safety measures, such as background checks for buyers or a monitoring system to detect high volume orders of guns. Stokinger’s case is not the first attempt by Lowy’s organization to restrict Armslist. A lawsuit filed in Wisconsin has made it to the state’s highest court, while another in Illinois was dismissed.
“This case is not about the 2nd Amendment. This is not an anti-gun case,” Lowy explained. “Certainly, Officer Stokinger is not an anti-gun person in any way. It is about ensuring guns are sold the right way instead of the wrong way. That’s something that all of us, whatever our views are on gun policy, should agree on.”
Armslist did not return a request for comment.