Pagourtzis bought 100 rounds of shotgun and hangun ammo from a website which, rather than checking his I.D. proof, simply had him tick a box saying he was older than 21.
A recently-amended lawsuit alleges that Dimitrios Pagourtzis, suspected of committing a 2018 mass shooting in a Santa Fe high school, ordered ammunition from an online firearms retailer without having his age verified.
The Dallas Morning News reports that federal law prohibits children from possessing handgun ammunition. Yet Pagourtsiz, aged 17 at the time of the massacre, successfully purchased more than 100 rounds of shotgun and handgun ammunition from luckygunner.com.
Pagourtsiz allegedly used the ammunition to murder 10 people at Santa Fe High School less than two months later. Among those killed was a Pakistani exchange student, whose parents amended the already-existing suit to include Lucky Gunner.
The alteration, says Fox News, amends a complaint filed against Pagourtsiz’s parents, Rose Marie Kosmetatos and Antonios Pagourtsiz. The suit alleges that both Kosmetatos and the elder Pagourtsiz were aware that their son was exhibiting extreme behavior, yet failed to take the reasonable precaution of his curtailing his access to their firearms.
The lawsuit, filed by several victims’ family members, says that Pagourtsiz was able to make his purchase without submitting any proof of age. Instead, he had only to read through a list of terms and conditions before clicking a tick-box confirming he was 21 years or older.
Eric Tirschwell, managing director of Everytown Law—the legal branch of gun-control advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund—said Lucky Gunner’s weak age-verification measures enabled the killings.
“Selling ammunition online without verifying the customer’s age is an unacceptable business practice and shows an utter disregard for public safety,” Tirschwell said.
However, Lucky Gunner has denied culpability, suggesting that Pagourtsiz committed a crime by misrepresenting his actual age. In a statement issued to Fox, the company used arguably conspirational language to imply that Everytown’s litigation is politically motivated.
“Our hearts go out to the families and victims affected by the tragedy in Santa Fe,” Lucky Gunner spokesperson Anthony Welsch said. “We recently learned of a related lawsuit against us in which Michael Bloomberg-backed Everytown olaims [sic] to be representing a plaintiff. Contrary to the claims, our company complied with all laws in making the subject sale; the suspect committed many crimes to include deliberately misrepresenting himself.”
The Dallas Morning News notes that Pagourtsiz wasn’t the first shooter in recent history to purchase ammunition used in a massacre online. Patrick Crusius, 21, allegedly bought more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition from Russia, which he later used in the killing of 22 people at an El Paso, Texas, Wal-Mart.
The Morning News says that some states, including Texas, have substantially less stringent regulations for online ammunition sales than they do for firearms. In Texas, for instance, guns purchased online must be delivered through licensed, physical firearms retailers equipped to run federally-mandated background checks.
Bullets and other firearms accessories, though, can be delivered straight to a recipient’s doorstep.
The lawsuit’s future may be contingent upon how extant federal law is interpreted. Legislation approved in 2005 largely shields gun manufacturers and retailers from liability arising from incidents in which their products caused harm. The exception to that law, says the Morning News, is if a company intentionally flouted the law while selling arms or ammunition.