Gun shop settles over alleged straw purchase murder-suicide

A Kansas gun shop agreed to pay $132,000 to the wife of a man who fatally shot their 8-year-old son and himself with a gun legally purchased there.

Elizabeth Shirley sued Baxter Springs Gun and Pawn Shop in 2005 after her husband, Russell Graham, a felon, in 2003 had his grandmother purchase a shotgun for him in because he was prohibited under federal law from doing so, the Associated Press reported.

Graham was reportedly present during the sale, allegedly making the transaction a “straw purchase” by a “bad apple” gun dealer, contends the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.    

“This settlement is another major victory in Brady’s campaign to Stop Bad Apple Gun Dealers,” said the organization’s president, Dan Gross, in a statement. “Our message is simple: if you profit by selling guns to criminals, we will find you and hold you accountable.”

The Cherokee County gun dealer reportedly won a decision in 2010, when the court ruled it could not be held to the “highest standard of reasonable care in exercising control over firearms.” That decision was then reversed by a Kansas Supreme Court in 2013.

The grandmother, Imogene Glass, reportedly filed the federal background check paperwork and then Graham paid cash for the gun.

Gun shop owners Joe and Patsy George said they didn’t know Graham was a convicted felon and thought the purchase was legitimate, the AP reported.

“My clients are very good people who did nothing wrong and obviously have never admitted any liability,” attorney Scott C. Nehrbass said.