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Armslist bills itself as an online firearms marketplace — “a gun show that never ends,” in the words of its cofounder — where buyers and sellers can easily conduct private transactions through classified-style ads.
But a Boston police officer who was shot and injured by a Glock handgun purchased through the website alleges the company is effectively running an unregulated online bazaar where felons and other dangerous people buy and sell guns illegally.
In a lawsuit filed Thursday in Suffolk Superior Court, Officer Kurt Stokinger details how a New Hampshire woman used Armslist to buy 30 to 63 guns, including the Glock that she later sold to Grant Headley, the convicted felon who allegedly shot Stokinger in Dorchester in January 2016.
Armslist only facilitates private sales, so it is not required to conduct background checks like traditional brick-and-mortar stores.
It was established after Amazon, Craigslist, and eBay stopped selling guns online because the companies recognized it was too dangerous, said Jonathan E. Lowy, an attorney at the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, who is representing Stokinger, 39, and his wife, Janella.
“Officer Stokinger almost lost his life because a dangerous felon who should never have had a gun was able to get one, and the reason why he was able to get one was largely because of the irresponsible conduct of Armslist.com,” Lowy said.
Stokinger and his wife are seeking monetary damages as well as changes in how Armslist does business, Lowy said.