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SJB Files Lawsuit Over Semi-Automatic Assault Rifle Used in Mass Shooting

Shamberg Johnson & Bergman and The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence filed suit on behalf of the family of murdered Joshua Higbee against A Pawn Shop.

The lawsuit alleges that A Pawn Shop, located in Newton, Kansas negligently sold firearms in a straw purchase, which were then used by a known convicted felon in a February 25, 2016 workplace shooting. One of the guns was a semi-automatic assault rifle.  This rifle is similar to the type used by gunmen in recent mass shootings in Parkland, Florida, Las Vegas, Nevada, and Sulphur Springs, Texas.

Joshua Higbee was killed when Cedric Ford opened fire at the Excel Industries factory in Hesston, Kansas. The workplace shooting occurred during Ford’s crime spree that began in Newton, Kansas. Ford killed three people, including Higbee, and injured 14 others.

The complaint alleges that A Pawn Shop transferred an AK-47 semi-automatic rifle and a Glock semi-automatic handgun to Sarah Jo Hopkins.  There were numerous indications that she was acting as a straw purchaser for Ford. Federal law prohibited Ford, a convicted felon, from purchasing and possessing firearms. A straw purchase is when someone buys a gun for someone else, and it is a violation of federal law. SJB and The Brady Center filed the suit in the District Court of Harvey County, Kansas.

Subrina Luke, Joshua Higbee’s wife, stated, “Joshua was a wonderful man and a wonderful father. It feels like we lost everything when he was taken from us.”

“Whatever your views are on gun issues, we can all agree that gun dealers have a responsibility to do what they reasonably can to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people,” said Jonathan Lowy, Vice President, Litigation, and co-counsel for the plaintiff at The Brady Center. ”When a gun dealer chooses to engage in irresponsible sales practices that arm dangerous people, that dealer should be held accountable.”

“Straw purchases are one of the primary ways that dangerous criminals get guns,” said David Morantz, co-counsel for the plaintiff at SJB. “Gun dealers serve on the front lines of the battle to deter gun violence. This lawsuit will help ensure that gun dealers adhere to their duty and keep guns out of the hands of criminals.”

SJB successfully represented the family of victims in the Overland Park Jewish Community Center shooting against Walmart, which sold one of the guns used in that incident.

SJB is proud to co-counsel with The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence in this action.  The Brady Center is dedicated to reducing gun injuries and deaths in America by stemming from the causes of gun violence. Brady works in the courts to reform dangerous and reckless gun industry practices that give criminals and dangerous people access to guns.

If you or your family have been harmed by negligently or criminally purchased firearms call us at  or contact SJB and speak with one of our attorneys now.