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Cooper Elliott Partners with the Brady Center, Leading to Sweeping Policy Changes for a Major Gun Retailer.

February 11, 2021 / Chip Cooper

In 2016, Gerri Galliher’s son, Bryan, was tragically murdered by a man who illegally purchased a black powder revolver from Cabela’s. Added to her grief was a profound sense of shock—shock that the killer, who was a violent convicted felon, was so easily able to purchase a deadly weapon. Gerri wanted answers, and she wanted to do whatever she could to protect other families from suffering the same loss she did. With the help of Cooper Elliott and the Brady Legal Team, policies are now in place at Cabela’s and Bass Pro to ensure black powder guns remain out of the hands of violent convicted felons. How Cabela’s sale violate state law

How Cabela’s sale violated state law

In 2014, Paul Claren called Cabela’s to purchase a black powder gun.  Black powder guns are replicas of antique firearms made with modern materials. Although they utilize archaic design, they are just as lethal as modern firearms. Federal law does not prohibit the sale of black powder guns to felons convicted of violent crimes, but the State of Ohio does. In Ohio, it’s a crime to recklessly sell any firearm, including a black powder gun, to a felon convicted of a violent crime. 

During the phone call to Cabela’s, Claren told the sales associate that he was a convicted felon. Tragically, Cabela’s made the sale. Cabela’s mailed a black powder gun from Nebraska to Claren’s apartment complex in Ohio. 

In the summer of 2016, Paul Claren used that very gun to kill Bryan Galliher.

Cooper Elliott and Brady work to institute change

While Claren was charged with Bryan’s murder, Gerri Galliher wanted to do more to prevent future, senseless tragedies from occurring. With the help of Cooper Elliott and the Brady Center, Gerri Galliher sued Cabela’s for illegally selling the black powder firearm that killed her son. This case is important because it sends the message to other gun retailers that they must know not only federal laws regarding black powder firearm sales but also the laws of every state in which they operate.

As a result of the litigation, Cabela’s (and its parent company Bass Pro) instituted new policies to prevent the sales of black powder guns to violent felons. Cabela’s and Bass Pro no longer sell black powder guns over the telephone or over the internet.  Given the staunch opposition to laws that restrict gun sales in any way, policies like these are rarely enacted. Sweeping policy reforms like these provide hope that other retailers will soon follow suit. 

The partnership between Gerri Galliher, Cooper Elliott, and Brady has paved the way for a safer society. We thank the Brady Center for their vital expertise in this case. Together, we were able to bring some closure to a grieving family and take a major step toward avoiding future senseless loss of life.  

The attorneys at Cooper Elliott are prepared to leverage all resources available to right the wrongs for any complex civil matters.

Give us a call – we’re here to help.

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