In the case of KS&E Sports and Ellis v. Runnels, Martin was a convicted felon who could not legally purchase or possess a firearm. KS&E Sports is a place located in Indianapolis, Indiana that sells firearms. In October 2011, Martin and Tarus Blackburn went to KS&E to browse. Martin identified a gun that he liked in front of Blackburn and a KS&E employee and they left the store. Blackburn would return to KS&E later that day and buy the gun that Martin pointed out. Blackburn completed the required paperwork and then after the purchase outside of the store in KS&E’s parking lot, Blackburn sold the gun to Martin. A couple of months later in December 2011, Martin used that same gun to shoot Indianapolis police officer Dwayne Runnels during a traffic stop.
Runnels filed a lawsuit against KS&E alleging that KS&E proximately caused him harm by its negligent, reckless, and unlawful sale of the gun to Blackburn. He also accused them of negligent entrustment because that same gun got to Martin which was used to shoot and injure Runnels. Under Indiana Code 34-12-3-3(2), a person may not bring an action against a firearms seller for the recovery of damages resulting from the criminal or unlawful misuse of a firearm by a third party. The Indiana Supreme Court held that the Indiana statute immunizes a firearms seller from a damage suit for injuries caused by another person’s misuse of a firearm, regardless of whether the sale was lawful. It held that Runnels’ claim for damages must be dismissed.
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