AUSTIN – The Texas Supreme Court on Friday ruled that families of the victims killed in a shooting at a church in Sutherland Springs in 2017, cannot sue Academy Sports and Outdoors for negligence.
In her opinion, Justice Debra Lehrmann wrote that the trial court should have granted a summary judgment to Academy under the federal Protection Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. That legislation protects firearms manufacturers and retailers from lawsuits seeking damages by crimes committed by third parties.
“Academy is entitled to summary judgment under the PLCAA, and the trial court abused its discretion in denying Academy’s motion,” Lehrmann wrote in her opinion.
The families of four victims sued Academy shortly after the shooting in 2017, where 26 people were killed and 20 others wounded. The families sued for negligence, arguing that the weapon and ammunition used in the shooting in November 2017, should have never been sold to the gunman, Devin Kelley.
“Although federal law disqualified Kelley from purchasing a firearm at the time of the sale—based in part on his conviction in a 2012 court-martial for assaulting his wife and stepson and his dishonorable discharge from the United States Air Force—that disqualifying information was not in the system, which authorized Academy to “Proceed” with the sale,” Lehrmann wrote.
Lehrmann added that litigation into why that disqualifying information wasn’t in the system is currently being handled in federal court.