Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Officer's Widow Sues Philadelphia-area Gun Dealer

Officer's widow sues Philadelphia-area gun dealer

Local news reports

The widow of a suburban Philadelphia police officer fatally shot with a gun bought by a straw purchaser filed a lawsuit Monday against the gun dealer that sold the weapon two years ago.

The lawsuit filed by Lynsay Fox alleges that In Site Firearms and Law Enforcement Supplies knew or should have known that Michael Henry, the man who bought the gun that killed Bradley Fox, was purchasing the gun for someone else and that there was an "unreasonable and foreseeable risk" that the handgun would be used to cause harm.

Bradley Fox, a Plymouth Township police officer and Iraq War veteran, was killed in September 2012 after a man he was pursuing shot him four times. The shooter, Andrew Thomas, then fatally shot himself with a gun purchased by Henry.

Henry was sentenced to 20 to 66 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to buying Thomas nine guns, six of which came from In Site, according to the lawsuit.

"I wish the man who murdered my husband never had access to a gun," she said. "And I wish the gun store against whom I have brought my lawsuit never sold to a straw purchaser the gun used to kill my husband. But that gun store did sell that gun. And that sale led to my husband's murder."

The straw purchases were paid for in cash, and Henry gave Thomas the guns in In Site's parking lot, according to the lawsuit.


  1. “We contend that they were negligent. We also contend that they acted intentionally and recklessly in making these sales because the red flags were there. They failed to do what they’re supposed to do and as a result of that the gun went to the straw purchaser and ended in the hands of someone who murdered Officer Fox.”

    "She said he was known to the store and would hand off the weapons directly outside the building.
    “We know that he bought multiple guns within a short period of time, that he bought the same kind of guns, [and] that he paid for them in cash. There were many different things that could’ve been picked up on. At the time, he was in a rehab facility…The fact is, this is someone who came into In Sight over and over and over again with cash in hand, went out into their parking lot, transferred the gun to Thomas, who then used it as a crime gun.”

    It will be interesting to see if they have actual evidence to prove these accusations. I'm not seeing how they could know he was in rehab. I've bought several guns of the same type, (different caliber) using cash,(debit card), in a short period of time.
    In the meantime, it appears the person who actually sold the guns in question is complaining about the length of his sentence,

    "Michael Joseph Henry, through his lawyer, Craig T. Hosay, filed papers in Montgomery County Court seeking a reduction in the 20-to-66-year state prison term he received on Aug. 15 for selling nine guns, including a Beretta pistol, to convicted felon Andrew Charles Thomas, who used the Beretta to fatally shoot Fox, a New Hanover resident, last Sept. 13.
    Hosay argued Judge Joseph A. Smyth abused his discretion by permitting prosecutors to present testimony and physical evidence regarding Fox’s slaying even though Henry was not charged with any offense directly related to Fox’s death, “either as an accomplice, co-conspirator or accessory” to the shooting."

    " Henry, prosecutors said, made “straw purchases” of nine firearms, seven pistols and two rifles at gun stores in West Norriton, Montgomery County, and East Pikeland, Chester County, between April and July 2012. Henry then illegally transferred the nine weapons, in exchange for $500 each, to Thomas, 44, of Grasmere Road, Lower Merion.
    Thomas, who was on probation for a 2005 forgery arrest in Upper Merion, was not legally permitted to possess firearms.
    For each purchase, Henry indicated on the application and record of sale that he purchased the firearm for himself and not for another individual, detectives said. Henry purchased the items for Thomas, “making materially false statements” on the applications and records of sale issued by the Pennsylvania State Police."

    "Attorneys at The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence and Dechart LLP, who are representing Lynsay Fox pro bono, said In Site Firearms & Law Enforcement Supply — which is owned by Luke Kelly, a former West Norriton police officer — should have known that Henry was a straw purchaser."

    And here is the beginning of the Brady lawsuits.

    "The suit states that between April and July of 2012, Henry bought nine different guns for Brad Fox’s killer. The law suit states six of those weapons were bought from In Site Firearms & Law Enforcement Supplies."

    So we have six firearms being bought from the same store over a four month period. We'll have to see what the jury says.

    1. FFL guys need to do more to prevent straw purchasing. There's a fine line between selling a gun to a questionable customer and actually turning a blind eye on an obvious straw purchaser. Afterwards naturally they claim ignorance.

    2. "FFL guys need to do more to prevent straw purchasing.

      Just as they do with advocating for the safe storage of firearms, the NSSF has been addressing this issue for quite some time,

      "Fighting Straw Purchasing
      The Don’t Lie for the Other Guy (Don’t Lie) program is a public awareness and firearm retailer education campaign that was developed in 2000 by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) – the trade association for the firearms industry – in partnership with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to address the challenges of detecting and deterring potential straw purchases of firearms."

      "Firearms retailers receive a Don’t Lie kit to educate sales personnel on how to detect and deter straw purchases. The kit includes a video detailing common straw purchasing scenarios use to obtain firearms illegally, store display materials to warn consumers about straw purchases and the penalties associated with them, and retailer guides for training employees."