(USA Features) The Texas Supreme Court has ruled that a gun store in the state cannot be sued by families and survivors of a mass shooting at a church in 2017 because they are specifically protected from such liability under a federal law President Joe Biden and Democrats want to eliminate.
On Friday, the state court tossed four lawsuits against Academy Sports and Outdoors alleging that a store in San Antonio was at fault for selling the rifle used in the attack to former U.S. Air Force member Devin Kelly in 2016.
The chain outlet appealed after two lower courts refused to throw out the lawsuits.
Kelly killed more than two dozen people when he attacked worshippers at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs. After the attack, the 26-year-old shooter killed himself during a chase.
He had purchased an AR-556 semi-automatic rifle with a 30-round magazine.
The state high court agreed with the retailer that the petitions for redress were prohibited by the U.S. Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which protects gun sellers from liability lawsuits that arise from incidents of criminality involving third parties.
The suits claimed that Kelley gave store clerks a Colorado ID and that the Gun Control Act required Academy Sports to comply with Colorado gun laws before making the sale.
The Rocky Mountain state bars the sale of magazines that hold more than 14 rounds; the rifle Kelley bought came equipped with a 30-round magazine.
The state court said that sale was acceptable because federal law applies only to the sale of guns, not gun components.
The Biden administration along with most congressional Democrats want to repeal the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which critics say would essentially collapse retail gun sales in the country because no company would want to be held liable for the actions of customers.
The Air Force shares some responsibility as well, however.
Kelley was dishonorably discharged from the service in 2012 after assaulting his wife and stepson, but Air Force officials neglected to report the conviction to the FBI so it did not show up on Kelley’s firearms background check.
The service branches are required by law to report such discharges and convictions to the FBI specifically to prevent improper gun sales.