November 07, 2005

Lawyers, Guns, and Money

On February 12, 2004, Wake County Sheriff's Investigator Mark Tucker was killed by a blast from a single-shot Mossberg 12-gauge. The shotgun was fired by Matthew Grant, a convicted felon. The shotgun was purchased for Grant by one of his friends, Van McQueen.

These facts, as cited by the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence in their civil lawsuit against Cary Jewelry & Pawn, are true.

Many of Brady's other allegations, however, are apparently untrue. The Brady Center made allegations and insinuations not supported by facts, as exposed in a previous post on the subject, and since then, new elements of the Brady Center's case have fallen apart, as two of the strongest allegations in their civil case against Cary Jewelry & Pawn now appear to be falsified.

According to the Brady Center's October 17, 2005 press release:

The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence today filed a lawsuit on behalf of the widow of a Wake County, North Carolina Sheriff's Investigator, charging that a gun shop's negligence helped arm his killer.

Investigator Mark Tucker was shot in the face with a shotgun and killed on February 12, 2004, by Matthew Grant, a convicted felon. The suit seeks to recover damages from Cary Jewelry & Pawn, who supplied Grant's friend, Van McQueen, with the 12-gauge Mossberg shotgun that was used to kill Investigator Tucker. Grant is also a named defendant.

The suit was filed in Wake County court and claims that Cary Jewelry & Pawn, of Cary, North Carolina, negligently and illegally sold the murder weapon to an obviously dangerous person.

In November 2003, Van McQueen and Matthew Grant went to Cary Jewelry & Pawn to buy a firearm. McQueen planned to purchase a firearm as a straw buyer for Grant, because Grant was a felon prohibited from buying guns, and in return Grant promised to buy McQueen a beer. McQueen was mentally deficient and was obviously intoxicated, and the shop's clerk refused to sell him a gun. Three days later, McQueen returned to the pawn shop with Grant, again wanting to buy a firearm. Although his home address was a local mission, McQueen had $120 in cash to buy the weapon. This time, even though the same clerk who had seen McQueen intoxicated three days earlier was on duty, the shop completed the all-cash sale. McQueen then transferred the shotgun to Grant, who used it to shoot Investigator Tucker in the face, killing him. Grant was arrested, convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Investigator Tucker.

"The evidence in this case clearly shows that the gun dealer irresponsibly and illegally sold a shotgun to a man it knew to be dangerous," said Daniel R. Vice, Staff Attorney with the Brady Center. "The gun dealer chose to make a quick buck rather than protect public safety – greed and recklessness caused the death of a brave law enforcement officer."

Investigator Tucker's widow is represented by attorneys with the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence and by E. Spencer Parris of the Jones Martin Parris & Tessener Law Offices. The Brady Center represents victims of gun violence in lawsuits against irresponsible gun dealers and manufacturers who supply guns to criminals. Last year, the Center obtained settlements in three high-profile cases on behalf on gun violence victims last year, including victims of the Washington, D.C.-area snipers, totaling $4.4 million.

In the press release above, Brady states:

Although his home address was a local mission, McQueen had $120 in cash to buy the weapon.

That the Brady Center would apparently try to conjure up the frightening image of a homeless person willing to buy almost anyone a gun for a beer is a disgusting, bigoted tactic, but it is a tactic the Brady Center seems comfortable in using.

But Van McQueen's home address was not a local mission as Brady claims, at any point in the gun purchasing process.

At the time the shotgun was purchased, McQueen resided at a Buckingham Court apartment in Cary that he shared with Matthew Grant and several other men. He was not living as a resident of the mission until much later, in 2004, well after the murder had been committed.

Is Brady simply sloppy in their research, or are they willing to intentionally present false information? Someone should be asking the Brady Center that question, and perhaps under oath.

The Brady Center also states twice that McQueen went to Cary Jewelry & Pawn "in November 2003" and when denied purchase for having the scent of alcohol on his breath, he came back "three days later."

This is another falsehood, and ironically enough, the Brady Center's apparent fabrication this instance was refuted as the result of a law they helped to pass.

According the the Federal Bureau of Investigation CJIS Division:

In November 1993, the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act (Brady Act) was signed into law. The Brady Act requires Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) to request background checks on individuals attempting to receive a firearm. The permanent provisions of the Brady Act, which went into effect on November 30, 1998, required the United States Attorney General to establish the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) so that any FFL may contact for information to be supplied immediately as to whether the receipt of a firearm by a prospective transferee would violate Section 922 (g) or (n) of Title 18 of the United States Code or state law.

Documentation, including NICS records, will show that Vandorance McQueen first attempted to purchase a firearm on November 26, 2003, and was approved by the FBI. At 3:38:55 PM, the shotgun was, as far as the FBI was concerned, now property of Van McQueen.

McQueen cleared the FBI background checks and was only turned down after employees noticed the scent of alcohol on his breath. The sale was voided by Cary Jewelry & Pawn and the firearm was technically re-entered as the property of Cary Jewelry & Pawn at 3:40:55 PM, just 2 1/2 minutes later.

Records will further show that Van McQueen did not come back three days later to attempt to purchase a firearm.

Three days after November 26 was November 29.

FBI NICS records and other documentation will show that Van McQueen did not purchase the shotgun until December 29 at 4:07:23 PM, 33 days later, or more than a month after the Brady Center's claim.

When combined with the questions raised in the previous fisking of the Brady Center's lawsuit press release, there is every reason to doubt the very credibility of the Brady Center's case.

They do, however, manage to tip their hand a bit, perhaps exposing their real reason for bringing the case against Cary Jewelry & Pawn.

Last year, the Center obtained settlements in three high-profile cases on behalf on gun violence victims last year, including victims of the Washington, D.C.-area snipers, totaling $4.4 million.

I'm no judge or jury, but it sure seems like a motive to me.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at November 7, 2005 10:35 PM | TrackBack

Let's see. All the thousands of gun laws on the books have been passed primarily to keep guns out of the hands of criminals. The only conclusion I can make is they all fail. Maybe we need some reasonable people looking at such laws. It would be my opinion they should throw them all out and pass just one law that says if you commit a crime and use a firearm in the commision of that crime, you go to jail for 50 years. If we can't keep guns out of the hands of criminals, maybe we can keep such people out of the general population. It would also make it a lot easier for us honest gun owners.

Posted by: Fish at November 7, 2005 10:51 PM

Thanks for the update, CY. For a case built around an agenda, what's a few facts got to do with anything?

Fish makes a very valid point. Literally thousands of state and federal laws intended to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, yet criminals still manage to arm themselves. It doesn't take a brain surgeon or rocket scientist to figure out the laws aren't working. Those dastardly criminals just won’t play fair and honor those do-good liberal-inspired legislations; imagine that – the thoughtlessness of some people! Where are those vigilantes when you need them? A few selective lynchings of gun toting criminals might help deter the behavior, too. Wha' do ya think?

Posted by: Old Soldier at November 8, 2005 06:48 AM

This is SOP for the Brady crew.

Anything they say needs to be checked out very carefully. More often than not, their "facts" are wrong.

What's interesting about the whole thing is they've transitioned to monetary shakedowns now as as a way to attain their ends. It would seem they've basically given up on the legislative approach and are now taking a judicial approach more and more. Its an obvious development I suppose since they've got more allies on the bench than in congress.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at November 8, 2005 12:58 PM

Where's Sally Jones?

Posted by: Josh at November 8, 2005 08:01 PM

I live a few miles from where Wake County Sheriff's Investigator Mark Tucker was murdered and drove by the scene not long after his body was discovered, so I have followed the case pretty closely and admired the quick work Sheriff Donnie Harrison and his team did in quickly tracking down the killer.

But reading the latest from Confederate Yankee leaves a bitter taste about the aftermath. The Brady Center, as a liberal group, believes that laws don't matter, but lawsuits do. It's not what you can prove, but what you can settle for that is important to these people (and Eliot Spitzer may become Gov. of NY on that principle). But the Brady Center has now been caught in two fabrications surrounding the murder of Mark Tucker, and they are doing neither their Center nor the men who enforce our laws any favors with these errors/lies.

Posted by: Scott at November 9, 2005 10:18 AM

Hello CY, I am really glad I finally found a website that has been following this nonsense and has made sense from it. I am the youngest brother of Mark Tucker. I would like to publicize the fact that Mark's immediate famiy (by that I mean blood family) have absolutely nothing to with this frivilous law suit against Cary Jewelry and Pawn. We found out about it the same way most of Wake County did, via the local news. I was in the courtroom last year everyday of the trial. I know for a fact that if the pawn shop had done anything wrong, the DA's office would have charged them with criminal charges. I have personally been to see Vernan Pardue to apologize for what he is going to go through and to let him know that I hold no grudges. I would stop this if I could and believe me I've tried. And I am sure Mark would not go along with what is happening in this case. In my opinion this lawsuit is purely for publicity and exposure.

Posted by: Dan E. Tucker at November 22, 2005 01:01 AM

All that NICS evidence from records that were destroyed according to the law? PULEEZE! The ONLY reason that the government wants a list of firearms owners is so they can eventually come after them.

Posted by: David at December 6, 2005 09:04 AM

All that NICS evidence from records that were destroyed according to the law? PULEEZE! The ONLY reason that the government wants a list of firearms owners is so they can eventually come after them.

Posted by: David at December 6, 2005 09:05 AM

I'd say it's about time for the Brady Campaigne to be set on their ear. Seeing how they like to distort all facts concerning firearms maybe it's time they had a class-action law suit filed against them by the law-abiding gun owners. NICE THOUGHT ANYWAY!

Posted by: Frank at December 7, 2005 04:21 PM

Does anyone have a pdf of the complaint? It used to be posted on the Brady Center website but they appear to have pulled it down.

Posted by: Lawrence G. Keane at January 18, 2006 11:11 AM