The national gun control group is backing a lawsuit against the big box retailer over the sale of a replica muzzleloader to a felon who later used it to kill an Ohio man. The Brady Campaign, representing the family of slain 21-year-old Bryan Galliher, filed the action against Cabela’s in the Common Pleas Court of Wayne County on Tuesday.
The group is seeking damages from the sporting goods chain owned by Bass Pro, arguing that store employees should have known they were violating state law against selling guns to a prohibited firearm possessor when they sold a replica 1858 Army .44-caliber black powder revolver to Paul Claren, a man with a lengthy criminal history, over the phone in 2014 followed by a reloading kit in July 2016.
While federal law does not classify antiques and black powder replicas as firearms, Ohio, like several other states, does not make such a distinction in their local laws when it comes to possession of one by a felon. This, argues Brady in court documents, makes Cabela’s “vicariously liable” in wrongful death after Claren used the revolver to fatally shoot Galliher in August 2016.
After a criminal trial that involved a failed bid at a justifiable homicide defense, Claren, 69, has been imprisoned at the state’s Richland Correctional Institution since last August on a life sentence for aggravated murder and having weapons while under disability. Claren had a criminal history that dated as far back as 1991 to include aggravated assault, menacing by stalking, and felonious assault, The Daily Record reported.
“We don’t want to see any other family endure such an avoidable tragedy,” said Brady attorney Sean Alto in a statement from the group. “Had better policies and procedures been in place, Bryan’s death could have been prevented.”
The lawsuit seeks punitive damages against both Claren and Cabela’s as well as the chain’s owner, Bass Pro. Brady, with a long history of legal action against gun retailers with mixed results, is currently engaged in another lawsuit against the chain over the sale of a pistol that was later traded by a felon and used in a shooting that killed a Delaware woman.