The ‘craigslist of guns’ held harmless in domestic murder

The 'craigslist of guns' held harmless in domestic murder

Image via the New York Post

Previously, we’ve discussed how a lawsuit in Wisconsin was moving forward against Armslist, the so-called ‘craigslist of guns.’ Armslist facilitates the sales of firearms between private owners and buyers. This is a legal loophole that allows people with criminal records to bypass background checks when purchasing a firearm. In the past few years, a number of guns sold through Armslist have been used in some high-profile crimes such as the murder of a Chicago Police Captain.

Around this time last year, The Wisconsin Court of Appeals ruled that a lawsuit against Armslist could move forward. The suit was brought about after the 2012 murder of Zina Daniel Haughton by her estranged husband Radcliffe Haughton. Haughton had a domestic violence injunction against him which prevented him from legally owning a gun at the time. Instead, Haughton bought a gun from an Armslist dealer and murdered his wife at her workplace in Brookfield, Wisconsin.

Yesterday, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that Armslist was held harmless in the murder in a 5-1 decision. The ruling mostly stated that Armslist could not be held liable due to the Communications Decency Act of 1996 which holds website owners harmless if their site is used for illegal activity by its users. However, the lone dissenting opinion came from Justice Ann Walsh Bradley. She said…

“The majority errs in its interpretation of the CDA by basing its decision, not on the actual claims pled…but on its own manufactured interpretation of those claims. As a result, it fails to recognize that here the design itself is the creation of the content.”

It’s been argued in the past that Armslist was specifically designed to allow buyers to circumvent background checks.