Aurora Victim’s Parents: Our Daughter Is Dead, ‘Now We Owe $203,000’ To Her Killer’s Ammo Dealer

Three years ago, James Holmes walked into the Aurora Town Center Century 16 during a midnight screening of “The Dark Knight Rises” and opened fire on unsuspecting moviegoers. When Holmes was done shooting, hundreds of shell casings littered the ground, 70 people were injured and 12 were dead. Jessica Ghawi, was one of the deceased victims and her parents, Lonnie and Sandy Phillips, later sued Lucky Gunner, the online ammo dealer which sold Holmes the bullets. Recently, a judge ruled that Lucky Gunner could not be held responsible for Holmes’ actions and ordered Jessica’s parents to pay an unbelievable amount of money for the company’s court fees — $203,000.

During Holmes’ trial, the Aurora Police Department revealed the extent of the damage to the theater: 240 “impacts” from projectiles, bullet fragments and shot pellets. Nicholas Carroll, a crime scene investigator, testified as to where those “impacts” came from:

  • Six spent shotgun shells
  • 65 spent .223-caliber rifle casings
  • Five spent .40-caliber casings
  • 218 live rounds of .223-caliber rifle ammunition
  • 16 live rounds of .40-caliber handgun rounds

All of Holmes’ ammo was bought from online dealers, one of those dealers was Lucky Gunner.

Jessica’s parents recently penned an op-ed for the Huffington Post and they explained why they sued the ammo dealer:

“We brought our lawsuit because we thought it was outrageous that companies could sell a dangerous man an arsenal without getting any information about him, and without making any effort to see if he was a dangerous killer — which he was. When the killer had left a voicemail with a shooting range, the range operator knew that he was bad news and shouldn’t be given access to guns. But these companies set up their business so people just like this killer can arm themselves at the click of a mouse. We wanted to change that. And we still do.”

Her parents lost the suit, because our politicians value corporations more than they value citizens. Our gun laws are laughable at best and horrifying at worst. James Holmes, a man with mental health issues, was able to buy 4,000 – that’s right, FOUR THOUSAND – “high-velocity, armor-piercing bullets that were designed by our military to inflict maximum damage on enemy combatants” from Lucky Gunner, according to the Phillips. They explained what six of those bullets did to their daughter:

“One of the six, steel-jacketed bullets that killed her slammed through a theater seat, entered her left eye and left a five-inch hole in her face as it blew her brains out on to the theater floor. The other five specially designed bullets tumbled when they tore through her flesh and did devastating damage to both legs, arms and intestines.”

As a mother, I cannot even imagine what it feels like to know and have to describe, in graphic detail, the fatal injuries inflicted upon my child. I can’t imagine how I would feel if I knew my kid was dead because a company decided it was okay to sell a faceless person the tools he needed to commit murder.

What is even worse is why the judge ruled Lucky Gunner could not be held accountable for their actions:

“The judge dismissed our case because, he said, these online sellers had special immunity from the general duty to use reasonable care under the federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act and a Colorado immunity law. If you couple the PLCAA law with Colorado’s law HB 000-208, (which says in essence: If you bring a civil case against a gun or ammunition seller and the case is dismissed then the plaintiff must pay all the defendant’s costs), you have an impenetrable barrier to using the judicial system to effect change in gun legislation in Colorado.”

You read that right: This country is so obsessed with the Second Amendment, that our lawmakers have created laws that ensure the gun industry is legally untouchable. These parents now owe more than two hundred thousand dollars to the people who are at least partially responsible for their daughter’s murder, because a 200-year-old amendment is FAR more important!

Jessica’s parents went on to say:

“The horrific and public execution of our daughter Jessi and 11 other beautiful young lives has given us a brief window of opportunity to bring awareness to the number one public health crisis facing this nation today which is rampant gun violence. It is unfathomable to me that the billion dollar gun lobby can intimidate our Congress and some state legislatures into passing laws that give the gun industry immunity against irresponsible acts that enables them to arm, and profit from, domestic terrorists, and other killers.”

But we won’t.

We will not do anything, because try as we might, the gun lobby has our politicians by the balls. After Aurora, this country had a front row seat to 20 babies being murdered in their classroom and they did nothing. Over and over and over we have watched hundreds of mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, sons and daughters be gunned down in cold-blood and the vast majority of our lawmakers have done nothing. The GOP and even some Democrats have stood by and done nothing.

The Phillips are right to be angry. They are right to be pissed off that they are being forced to pay $203,000 to a company who doesn’t even plan on using it for lawyers’ fees. It is absolutely disgusting that our government is punishing a family who lost their daughter thanks to our asinine laws.

Featured image via Facebook