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Mother files lawsuit against Mason gun range following daughter’s murder

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INGHAM COUNTY, Mich. (WLNS) — A Michigan mother is suing a gun range after her daughter’s ex-boyfriend killed her with a gun obtained from a Mason gun range.

The Charlotte mother, Gail Duncan is advocating on behalf of her daughter, Rachel Duncan. They’re being represented by Brady Legal and co-counsel Sommers Schwartz, P.C.

Duncan is bringing a lawsuit against the gun range, its owners Robert Carl and Christina Carl and four employees for negligence and unlawful conduct in failing to take proper measures to ensure safety.

The lawsuit alleges the gun range owners and four employees allowed a total of two rented semi-automatic firearms, a 1911-style handgun and a Glock 17 Gen-4 handgun to Rachel Duncan’s ex-boyfriend, who was prohibited from possessing guns.

The ex-boyfriend left the gun range with the Glock, which was loaded and used to kill Rachel Duncan at a JoAnn Fabric Store where she worked in Lansing. Moments after, after shooting Rachel Duncan multiple times, the shooter took his own life.

The shooter already had a personal protective order (PPO) against him filed by Rachel Duncan in March 2018 because he had displayed, “violent, controlling and or threatening behavior toward her.” The PPO prohibited the shooter from possessing a gun under Michigan and federal law.

The shooter had tried several times before to buy a Smith a Wesson handgun from a Michigan dealer a couple of weeks before the shooting, but the dealer stopped the sale due to a Brady Background Check, showing he was barred from owning a gun.

The system worked one time, but the shooter found one store to rent him a gun. At Total Firearms gun range, the staff allowed him to rent guns without screening him or requiring him to produce a Michigan Pistol license and allowed him to leave the premises with the gun.

“We believe the evidence will reveal the defendants ignored behavioral red flags,” the Sommers Schwartz attorney and senior shareholder Matthew Turner said.

The Attorney said the owner and employees’ negligence “enabled him to stroll out the front door of the range armed and locked,” resulting in a “foreseeable and highly predictable murder.”

The lawsuit states the defendants did not not that the shooter left the gun range with the gun. The attorney wrote that the owners and employees “failed to contact law enforcement and denied police the chance to intervene and possibly spare two lives.”

The complaint alleges the defendants violated various federal and state safeguards, including:

  • requiring customers to present a valid pistol license as proof they are not legally prohibited from possessing a gun
  • refusing to rent guns to anyone prohibited from legally possessing them
  • screening potential renters by asking verbal and written questions to verify that they had a legitimate purpose for renting and that they were emotionally stable and or not mentally ill
  • refusing to rent firearms to any person showing clear signs of an emotional disturbance and or mentall illness
  • calling law enforcement to enable further investigation of individuals who appear to be emotionally disturbed and or suffering from a mental illness
  • carefully monitoring the use of all rented guns on the firing range through the physical presence and attentiveness of range safety employees
  • appropriately positioning security cameras and or other security mechanisms to prevent customers from elaving the premises with rented guns
  • careful record keeping when guns are checked out or turned in
  • allowing a customer to leave the premises with a rented gun only if there is first a legal transfer of the gun involving a background check and the production of required transaction records
  • immediately calling law enforcement if a customer leaves the facility with a gun that has not legally been transferred
  • maintaining limited and carefully controlled points of entry and exit
  • outfitting emergency exits with alarms and
  • observing all access points at all times, either in-person or via electronic surveillance to prevent the removal of rented guns without permission of supervision

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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