Brady Campaign argues that the gun store was criminally negligent. The store wasn't necessarily victimized in this case, as Coday left two hundred bucks on the counter for the gun that he walked off. Normally I'd blast Brady Campaign for attacking a crime victim; that's their usual MO, and it is about as classy as blaming rape victims for dressing provocatively. Ray's store didn't really suffer a financial loss although they probably were robbed.
However, the question is whether they acted criminally negligently. I rather doubt it, especially given Rayco's rapid and accurate cooperation with local police. Apparently, so did the Superior Court.
Next, let's look at the shooter. Wiki actually has a pretty good run down on his history. Jason Coday was a registered felon in Nevada. After being arrested for meth, felon-in-possession of a firearm, possession of a sawed off shotgun, and some other odds and ends, he jumped bail. On 2 August he arrived in Juneau, stole a gun, and then within 48 hours committed murder. As is the usual pattern, most murderers have extensive criminal records including felonies and substance abuse. They are usually prohibited persons.
Even the Brady Campaign admits:
Between June 22, 2006, and August 4, 2006, Coday had at least 18 run-ins with police throughout the West, including the Henderson, Nevada Police; the Nye County Sheriff’s Office in Tonopah, Nevada; Nevada Highway Patrol in Elko, Nevada; the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office in Yerington, Nevada; State Patrol in Vancouver, Washington; U.S. Customs Service Inspection Control in Blaine, Washington; and Bellingham, Washington Police. After being released to his father’s custody after one arrest, Coday escaped, and made his way to Alaska.I kind of have to wonder why Nevada let this multiple-felon back on the streets, and how he managed to get from Bellingham to Juneau (presumably on the ferry) even after he was detained by Washington police. Didn't they check for outstanding warrants and see he'd skipped bail?
I have to wonder why Brady Campaign didn't sue the police for letting an escaped felon on the lam get through multiple stops. If blame is to be assigned to anyone for negligence, I'd think that the multiple police agencies who had a chance to apprehend an escaped felon fleeing weapons charges would bear substantial responsibility.
Meanwhile, Brady has engaged a local law firm in Juneau, probably because they don't really have any presence up here. Choate Law firm, run by Mark C. Choate, looks like a standard personal injury/ambulance chaser/divorce specialist type firm. A pillar of the legal community, I'm sure. Given Brady's financial state, Choate may likely be working on a contingency basis. This is what Choate says:
I find it interesting that Choate (annual revenues around ~$1 million) would go after Rayco (a small business with revenues less than <$500K). I'm wondering if Rayco has good insurance, because frankly, taking this case up all the way to appeal (in lieu of cutting a deal) doesn't make any sense financially unless the insurer has deep pockets. As the firm states:
The Choate Law Firm LLC works exclusively on a contingency fee. This means that it costs no money to have your claim evaluated. If we decide that we can help you, we will enter into a written contingency fee contract where we will agree to work with you for a percentage of the total recovery. This percentage varies between 33% and 45% depending on the difficulty of the case. We will also advance the costs necessary to prepare the case for trial - for example, filing fees, travel and expert witness charges, on your promise to repay us at the conclusion of the case.
"Similarly, we do not work in areas where, by design, it is almost impossible to represent clients cost-effectively. This means we do not represent claimants in workers compensation cases or social security claims."So, even though the firm claims "there's no higher calling than helping those in need," of course, there's no higher calling than helping those in need... but only if the defendant has a lot of money.
Choate deserves to ply his trade and make money. But residents of Juneau could certainly consider the firm's activity when picking a lawyer. Choate is collaborating with an Outside activist group which desires to fundamentally undermine and end a right which many Alaskans hold dear; furthermore, Choate is attempting to put a small, locally owned business out of operation. That's sticking it to the man!
In closing, I can agree with the Brady's sentiment:
“A deranged criminal like Jason Coday should not be able to walk into a gun store and simply stroll out the door with a gun."
However, their solution is to put gun shops out of business and suppress gun ownership, even if that infringes on the rights of the law abiding and disproportionately affects minorities, women, and the poor. My solution is for felons who are convicted of weapons crimes to be put in jail. If any of the numerous law enforcement agencies who had contact with Coday before he ran to Alaska had taken action, this tragedy could have been prevented. Kudos to the legal system for getting this one right, by all appearances.