Bud's Gun Shop Faces a Lawsuit After Highland Park Shooting

Bud's Gun Shop is a Lexington-based gun store facing lawsuits related to a Fourth of July mass shooting in 2022. Is the shop going out of business?

Kathryn Underwood - Author

Dec. 23 2022, Published 10:35 a.m. ET

Bud's Gun Shop logo and gun
Source: Bud's Gun Shop Twitter

A gun dealer in Lexington, Ky., is facing a lawsuit brought by survivors of a mass shooting that took place in Highland Park, Ill., at a Fourth of July parade in 2022. The Bud's Gun Shop lawsuit claims the gun store sold and shipped the firearm used to carry out the deadly attack to someone who lived in Highland Park. Is Bud's Gun Shop going out of business as a result?

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Bud's Gun Shop & Range in Lexington sells new and used firearms and ships them to customers as well. It has a 12,000 square foot retail showroom and claims to offer the largest selection of firearms, ammunition, and firearm accessories in the U.S.

Buds Gun Shop & Range
Source: Buds Gun Shop Facebook
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Is Bud's Gun Shop going out of business?

Prior to the July parade shooting in Illinois in 2022, a 2019 shooting at Bud's Gun Shop itself left one person dead. According to WKYT.com, the shooting happened within the Bud's Gun Shop shooting range. Customers can pay $20 per hour or $12.50 for 30 minutes in the shooting range, with discounts for a second and third person per lane.

The Bud's Gun Shop death in 2019, which a Reddit thread claims was a suicide, prompted Bud's Gun Shop to close for that weekend only. The gun store hasn't closed in the wake of the Highland Park shooting, and its in-person and online businesses are still thriving.

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What's the reason for the Bud's Gun Shop lawsuit?

In July 2022, a shooter opened fire with an assault-style rifle from the top of a commercial building, spraying bullets over the crowd gathered below. Seven people died as a result of the attack, and dozens more were injured, including a young boy who was paralyzed.

Source: Getty

FBI agents clearing the Highland Park, IL shooting scene of strollers left behind as paradegoers fled the attack.

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Associated Press initially reported that the shooter had legally acquired five firearms in Illinois, including the one used in the deadly attack. However, in late September 2022, Jason and Keely Roberts filed a lawsuit against Bud's Gun Shop as well as Smith & Wesson Brands and Red Dot Arms LLC.

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The Roberts are parents to a child who was paralyzed by a bullet that hit him at the Highland Park parade. According to the lawsuit, Bud's Gun Shop sold the gun that the alleged shooter Robert Crimo III used to carry out his attack. Highland Park doesn't allow residents to acquire or possess assault weapons.

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The Bud's Gun Shop lawsuit also claims that the Lexington-based store shipped the assault rifle to Red Dot Arms, a gun dealer in Illinois, and that Red Dot completed the transfer to the alleged shooter. According to the lawsuit, both gun shops knew that Crimo's address prohibited him from owning the weapon.

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The alleged shooter and his father are also being sued. Crimo III has been indicted on 117 counts by a grand jury. Felony charges of murder, attempted murder, and aggravated battery are among the numerous charges, to which he pled not guilty in August 2022.

Will Bud's Gun Shop be held responsible?

As CNBC reported in October, gun companies generally have a broad immunity in mass shootings. However, a representative of the plaintifs, Eric Tirschwell of Everytown Law, says, “The shooter in Highland Park didn’t act on his own.” Victims are claiming that gun shops like Bud's Gun Shop bear responsibility for the mass shooting.

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The 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, or PLCAA, offers broad federal protections to gun manufacturers and dealers after their products are used to commit crimes. If companies are shown to have used illicit sales or marketing tactics, the claims are more likely to have merit in court.

The recent $73 million settlement between Remington and the victims of the Sandy Hook shooting may influence how the Bud's Gun Shop lawsuit proceeds.


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