Milwaukee gun store back in court over straw purchase shooting

Milwaukee police officer Graham Kunisch speaks to the media with partner Bryan Norberg on Feb. 26, 2010. (Photo: Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)

Milwaukee police officer Graham Kunisch speaks to the media with partner Bryan Norberg on Feb. 26, 2010. (Photo: Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)

Two Milwaukee police officers shot in 2009 with a gun allegedly obtained through a straw purchase were back in civil court this week, suing the gun shop they say is responsible. Jury selection for the trial was expected to conclude Wednesday.

Officers Bryan Norberg and Graham Kunisch claim a gun “negligently and unlawfully sold” to Jacob Collins was then used by Julius Burton to shoot them on June 9, 2009, according to court documents filed in 2010.

Burton is currently serving 80 years in prison for the shooting. Collins entered Badger Guns, now called Brew City Shooter’s Supply, with Burton, 18, who then picked out the Taurus PT140 he later used to shoot Norberg in the face and fire several rounds into Kunisch, according to the complaint.

Collins then completed a transaction form required by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and initially indicated the gun wasn’t for him. The gun shop employees convinced Collins to change the form to indicate he was the buyer, the complaint claims.

Badger Guns owner Adam Allan, as the sole owner and under limited liability, could not have aided and abetted the company’s alleged wrongful act, according to a request for summary judgement filed by the defense. Allan and others associated with the business were either not at the store or not part of the transaction between Collins and Badger employee Donald Flora, the brief states.    

Badger Guns claims it did not sell the gun to Collins, but that Badger Outdoors did prior to the issuing of a new license and a clean slate by federal authorities.

This isn’t the first time Badger has been accused of negligence. The gun shop has a notorious reputation for selling guns recovered by police in crimes and has been responsible for at least six police injuries caused by guns it sold from 2008 to 2010, according to a 2012 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel report.           

A Journal-Sentinel investigation also found that the gun shop in 2006 – when it went by the name Badger Outdoors – was given a pass by federal investigators for offenses that could have shut the shop down. It then underwent some minor personnel changes and the son of the owner, a longtime employee, was issued a new license to run the shop under the new name.