This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2008, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Posted: 9:35 PM- The firearms dealer who illegally sold Sulejman Talovic a pistol-grip shotgun should have known the 18-year-old planned to use the weapon for murder, a survivor of the deadly Trolley Square shootings claims in a lawsuit.
Stacy Hanson is suing Nevada-based Rocky Mountain Enterprises and a pawn shop chain it owns, Sportsman's Fastcash, for emotional and physical damages he and his wife incurred after the Feb. 12, 2007, shootings, according to documents filed in 3rd District Court today.
"I think that people who sell firearms need to be held to a higher level of responsibility. Guns do one thing: They're made to kill things," said Hanson, reached at his home on this evening.
"I think I owe something to the people who died," he said of pursuing legal action against the gun sellers.
"I made it out of there. I think this is one of those things that I can do to help their memories."
Hanson's suit also names gun dealer Westley Wayne Hill, who pleaded guilty in December to charges that he failed to keep proper records in the November 2006 sale to Talovic.
Trolley Square survivor Carolyn Tuft in February brought a suit against Rocky Mountain Enterprises with similar allegations to Hanson's lawsuit.
Attorneys for Rocky Mountain Enterprises and Hill couldn't be reached for comment about either suit late today.
Talovic killed five shoppers and injured four others before he was fatally shot by police. No motive for the shooting spree has been determined.
Hanson was shot three times by Talovic while shopping for a valentine for his wife at Cabin Fever. He was left paralyzed.
He returned to working full time in August at his job as an associate creative director for an advertising agency. Confined to a wheelchair after the shooting, he's regaining the ability to walk with the use of braces, he said.
The road to rehabilitation has been a slow one.
"Some days I feel fine and some days I feel like crap," said Hanson, who will spend the rest of his life with shotgun pellets permanently ingrained in his spine.
"My body is still healing."
Hanson's suit states that the pistol-grip shotgun shouldn't have been sold to Talovic because it's not qualified as a rifle or shotgun under the Federal Gun Control Act and can't be sold to anyone under 21. Hill should have known Talovic was 18, the documents state.
Hill also failed to file necessary paperwork required when selling a firearm to a resident alien, making him culpable for selling the gun to Talovic, who was from Bosnia, the suit alleges.
The suit claims the pistol-grip shotgun doesn't serve a purpose other than for "military, law enforcement or criminal activities," and the gun dealer should have known Talovic would use the gun for murder.
Hanson said the amount of damages he is seeking hasn't yet been determined. He and his wife both suffered as a result of the shooting, the documents state.
"It's the right thing to do whether it succeeds or whether it fails," said Hanson of the lawsuit.
"I'm doing it for here and for Omaha, Virginia Tech and every place else."