A lawsuit backed by gun control group the Brady Campaign produced a settlement in a case filed by the survivors of a woman against the gun dealers who sold her murder weapon.
Named as defendants in the suit is an Oregon pawn shop, World Pawn Exchange, and J&G Sales, a popular online firearms retailer, in relation to the 2013 murder of 57-year-old Kirsten Englund at a highway rest stop. As announced Wednesday by the gun control group who spearheaded the litigation in a series of Oregon courts, the firearm dealers will make “significant business reforms” and pay a settlement “in excess of $750,000.”
In 2013, Jeffrey Boyce, 30, of North Bend, Oregon, shot and killed Kirsten Englund and then drove to California in an attempt to seek political asylum at the Russian Consulate in San Francisco. But Boyce was arrested after a car theft and hanged himself in jail. Englund’s family later sued Diane Boyce, the killer’s mother, in Multnomah County Circuit Court, arguing that he bought two handguns from J&G but she picked up the shipped guns for him at World Pawn under her name as her son was barred from firearms ownership. Boyce later settled her case for $400,000 and agreed to testify against the gun dealers for her role in the purchase.
Brady, seeking $9 million in damages, argued that Jeffrey Boyce’s name appeared on the invoice for the firearms from the retailer and his credit card was used to pay for them but his mother was allowed to transfer the firearms into her name at the pawn shop where they were shipped, thus making J&G and World Pawn negligent in the sale and later transfer.
“If it were not so easy for a dangerously mentally troubled killer to obtain a gun on the Internet, Kirsten Englund would be alive today, with her two sons and loving family,” said Jonathan Lowy, Brady’s vice president of litigation.
As part of the settlement agreement, the gun control group outlined that J&G would update its employee manual and invoice system to help identify suspicious purchases or purchasers and change their online ordering system to require buyers to confirm they are purchasing the gun for themselves or as a gift.
World Pawn, for their part, will no longer process transfers for guns purchased from online sellers and make a public recommendation for dealers to implement “the safest business practices to prevent guns from being obtained by criminals, straw purchasers, and other persons who pose a danger to themselves or others.”
Lowry said the settlement “sends a resounding message to gun dealers across the country that there’s more they can and should do to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people, and if they act irresponsibly, they will be held accountable if innocent people are hurt or killed.”