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Gunmaker and Shop Settle with D.C. Sniper Victims

September 16, 2004  | 

The United States manufacturer of the rifle used in a sniper shooting spree in the Washington, D.C.-area in 2002 and the shop that lost track of the weapon have agreed to pay a collective sum of $2.5 million to victims. John Muhammad and Lee Malvo were convicted last year for their shooting spree that killed 10 people and injured three. The settlement for eight victims of the shootings was the first of its kind by a gun manufacturer accused of negligent distribution of firearms, say lawyers involved in the case. The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence brought the suit on behalf of the victims. Bushmaster Firearms Inc. of Windham, Maine, agreed to pay $500,000 to the families of six victims and two survivors of the shootings. The company’s Website states the payment does not indicate any wrongdoing on the part of Bushmaster. A gun shop in Tacoma, Wash., has agreed to pay $2 million to victims and their families. The shop admits to having lost track of the Bushmaster rifle used in the sniper shootings, saying the weapon disappeared from the business. Some fear this settlement could set a precedent leaving the door open for gun manufacturers to be held accountable any time their weapons are used in crimes. Others, including those at the Brady Center, say this case didn’t go far enough.

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