The son of a woman killed during a 2021 shooting at a King Soopers supermarket in Boulder, Colorado, is suing gun manufacturer Ruger for an undisclosed amount of money in Connecticut for allegedly violating the state's Unfair Trade Practices Act.
The Denver Gazette reported Thursday that Nathaniel Getz, son of Suzanne Fountain, 59, one of 10 people shot to death by Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, 23, during the mass shooting at the store March 22, 2021, is suing the Connecticut-based gunmaker for giving its AR-556 pistol capabilities to function like a rifle, while only being regulated as a pistol.
According to the lawsuit, filed in Stamford, Connecticut, on March 10, the pistol used in the shooting could be fitted with a brace that "allows its weapon to function as a stock-stabilized AR-15 rifle."
The report said the pistol was designed in 2019 "as a variant" of the Ruger AR-556 rifle but uses an altered barrel and stock to avoid being classified as a rifle.
Alissa purchased the weapon after passing a background check about a week before the shootings and then used it in the shooting, according to the report.
Pistol owners do not need a license to carry the weapon in Colorado unless it is concealed, while "short-barreled" rifle owners need a federal license that requires a $200 tax and a visit from an agent of the Bureau of of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the report said.
Colorado Public Radio reported Feb. 27 that Alissa, who was declared incompetent to stand trial on the more than 100 criminal charges in the case in December 2021, has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, and has been moved to a state mental hospital for treatment.
In a Feb. 16 filing with the court, lawyers for Alissa said he was "approaching catatonia" while in jail, which could make him lose the ability to move and speak, the report said.
"Mr. Alissa still suffers profoundly from these symptoms, and they limit his ability to interact. He speaks in repetitive non-responsive answers and cannot tolerate contact with others for more than a very brief period of time," the news outlet reported his lawyers saying.
The Gazette reported that lawsuits against gunmakers for the harm they may cause have been banned under the 2005 federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.
The Connecticut Supreme Court, however, ruled in 2019 that gun manufacturer Remington could be sued by the families of the Sandy Hook Elementary School victims.
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