As Part of First-of-its-Kind Agreement, Luckygunner Will Maintain Age Verification System For All Ammunition Sales
Santa Fe, TX — Today, Everytown Law announced that the family of Sabika Aziz Sheikh, a 17-year-old exchange student killed in the mass shooting at Santa Fe High School in 2018 by a 17-year-old student, and ten other plaintiffs, reached a global settlement agreement with online ammunition seller Luckygunner, LLC and a related company, Red Stag Fulfillment, LLC. The first-of-its-kind agreement requires the seller to maintain an age verification system at the point of sale for all ammunition sales. The settlement comes after the Texas Supreme Court rejected an appeal by Luckygunner last year, which argued that it was entitled to immunity under the federal law that shields gun industry defendants from many civil lawsuits – the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA). The remaining terms of the settlement are confidential.
Everytown Law, the litigation arm of Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, and Clint McGuire of the law firm of Martinez & McGuire PLLC represent Sabika’s parents, Mr. Aziz and Ms. Naz.
“Nothing will ever bring Sabika back,” said Farah Naz, Sabika’s mother. “But we hope that this agreement sends a message to other sellers of dangerous products: it’s your responsibility to prevent your products from ending up in the wrong hands.”
“Sabika’s killer should never have been able to go online and buy ammunition with a few clicks,” said Abdul Aziz, Sabika’s father. “I rest easier knowing that this settlement agreement will prevent future illegal sales.”
“Age-verification for ammunition sales is a no-brainer, especially when the sale is conducted online,” said Alla Lefkowitz, Senior Director of Affirmative Litigation at Everytown Law. “It simply should not be possible for a minor to go online and have ammunition shipped to their house, no questions asked. As we work to hold the gun industry accountable for its role in the gun violence epidemic, other online sellers should follow Luckygunner’s lead and implement age verification processes.”
On May 18, 2018, a 17-year-old student massacred 10 of his classmates and teachers at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas. Sabika Aziz Sheikh, who had come to the U.S. as an exchange student from Pakistan, was one of the victims. The shooter accessed the firearms from his family’s home and loaded them with ammunition that he was able to buy online at Luckygunner.com, even though he was too young to purchase handgun ammunition.
The lawsuit alleged that Luckygunner acted negligently and with willful blindness when it sold ammunition to the 17-year-old shooter, through two fully-automated transactions that took less than two minutes to complete. The lawsuit alleged that Luckygunner had intentionally set up an online sales system through which it would not know or verify the ages of its customers – even though federal law makes it illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to purchase handgun ammunition (and 21 if the ammunition is bought from a licensed dealer). The lawsuit further alleged that a related company, Red Stag Fulfillment, LLC, shipped Luckygunner’s ammunition to the 17-year-old shooter without conducting any age-verification of its own, even though it knew that Luckygunner did not verify the age of its customers.
As part of the agreement, Luckygunner has agreed to maintain an age verification system at the point of sale for all ammunition sales. Under this system, anyone whose age cannot be verified or who is verified to be under 21, is refused a sale. (As noted above, the remaining terms of the settlement are confidential.) This landmark agreement is the product of three years of hard-fought litigation by the Everytown Law team and its co-counsel, who faced repeated arguments by Luckygunner that it had no legal liability or responsibility for the massacre at Santa Fe High School and that it was entitled to immunity. Each of these arguments was repeatedly rejected by every court to hear the case.
The Everytown Law team representing the family of Sabika Aziz Sheikh includes Alla Lefkowitz, Senior Director of Affirmative Litigation; Molly Thomas-Jensen, Deputy Director, Affirmative Litigation; Krystan Hitchcock, Counsel; and Andrew Nellis, Counsel.
More information regarding the specifics of this case can be found here.