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Sat Jul 20, 2013, 11:14 AM

KS Supreme Court: Gun stores must use "highest standard of care"

From The Kansas City Star, July 19


Kansas gun store owners must exercise the “highest standard of care” to avoid selling firearms to felons, the state’s Supreme Court ruled Friday.

The court’s opinion came in a case filed against a Baxter Springs gun shop by the mother of an 8-year-old boy who was killed by his father in a 2003 murder-suicide. Elizabeth Shirley contended that the Baxter Springs Gun & Pawn Shop negligently sold her estranged husband, Russell Graham, a shotgun even though he had felony convictions for attempted rape and attempted kidnapping.

Shirley…asked the Supreme Court to rule on the standard of care to which the gun shop owners could be held. That standard always is “reasonable care,” the court noted. But reasonable care means something more “relaxed” for a merchant peddling marbles than it does for someone selling firearms, the judges observed. Shirley suggested that gun stores be held to the “highest standard of care,” a bar that courts have set for parents whose children have somehow obtained firearms in the home and injured other children.

In ruling for Shirley, the high court noted that other Kansas judges had worried that opting for a higher standard could expose gun dealers to too much liability. “But this fear has proven unfounded,” the Supreme Court opinion read. “Kansas courts have not been subject to a deluge of cases … by gun owners as a result of the requirement that gun owners exercise great caution in allowing access to their weapons.” Because the Legislature has determined that felons are at “special risk” to misuse weapons, gun sellers should meet the same standard as those who merely possess them, the court found. “(A) firearms dealer must exercise the highest standard of care in order to avoid selling guns to such felons,” the court ruled.

More at link.

A little healthy dose of common sense, from a state not recently known for it. Hope it's contagious......
Now gun dealers will have a lot more incentive to check out their customers more closely.

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