Wisconsin court reinstates lawsuit against gun seller in shooting that killed three

Wisconsin court reinstates lawsuit against gun seller in shooting that killed three
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The Wisconsin Court of Appeals on Thursday reinstated a lawsuit that argued an online gun retailer could be held liable for selling a weapon to an individual barred from owning firearms.

Radcliffe Haughton, who was prohibited from owning a gun due to a domestic violence injunction, was able to buy one through Armslist.com. He later shot up a Milwaukee-area spa, killing three people, including his ex-wife, and injuring four others before killing himself. 

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that the Milwaukee County Circuit Court had previously dismissed a lawsuit against Armslist.com, ruling that it could not be held liable for publishing third-party content.

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However, the court of appeals overruled that decision and reinstated the case, filed by the daughter of one of the victims of the 2012 spa shooting. The court said the lawsuit seeks liability for using a “website design feature to facilitate illegal firearms purchases,” which is not protected under the law.

The lawsuit argues that "Armslist is liable for designing and operating its website in a way that encouraged prohibited sales, which she contends was a substantial factor in causing the shootings," the court wrote in its decision.

The ruling comes amid a renewed national debate over gun laws, sparked by the Feb. 14 mass shooting at a Parkland, Fla., high school that left 17 people dead.