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Boston cop sues online marketplace that sold gun used on him

Armslist is running a "haven" for illegal gun trafficking, the lawsuit alleges.

Julie Dermansky/Corbis via Getty Images

A Boston police officer is suing the online firearms marketplace where the gun used to shoot him was purchased.

In a lawsuit filed Thursday in Suffolk Superior Court, Officer Kurt Stokinger alleges that Armslist.com is a "haven" for illegal gun trafficking with "essentially no rules." The lawsuit (PDF) details how a New Hampshire woman used the site to buy dozens of guns, including a Glock that she later sold to Grant Headley, a convicted felon who allegedly used the weapon to shoot Stokinger in the leg in 2016.

The lawsuit points out that websites such as eBay, Amazon and Craigslist have long prohibited sales of firearms on their platforms, citing problems with verifying whether buyers were qualified.

Jonathan Lowy, an attorney at the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence,  an advocacy group for gun control representing Stokinger, said the nine-year veteran of the Boston police force almost lost his life because to someone who shouldn't have been able to obtain the weapon used in the shooting.

"We are bringing this lawsuit because some businesses put profits ahead of people, and repeatedly work to undercut our laws that prevent dangerous criminals from endangering our communities with guns," Lowy said in a statement.

Armslist, which bills itself as "a gun show that never ends," didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. 

Armslist has argued the federal Communications Decency Act protects websites that are forums for activities like gun sales. Courts had generally agreed until a Wisconsin appeals court rejected that argument earlier this year and reinstated a similar lawsuit against Armslist.

The company says in its terms of service that it "does not become involved in transactions between parties and does not certify, investigate, or in any way guarantee the legal capacity of any party to transact."

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