A trial pitting a Milwaukee gun shop owner against two city cops injured by what they claim were illegally sold firearms began Wednesday, leaving jurors to decide what responsibility dealers bear in so-called “straw purchases.”

Police Officer Bryan Norberg and former officer Graham Kunisch were permanent injured in a 2009 incident the say only occurred because of negligence on the part of Badger Guns and its owner, Adam Allan. The suit, filed in state civil court, alleges that employees at the West Milwaukee gun shop sold the Taurus PT140 handgun used in the incident even though they knew or should have known the gun weapon was being bought on behalf of another person.

The men were both shot by Julius Burton, who was later sentenced to 80 years in prison for his actions. Jacob Collins was also sentenced to two years in prison for buying the gun for Burton. Straw purchases involve an eligible buyer purchasing a gun for someone prohibited from buying or possessing one, as was the case with Burton. While prosecutions of straw purchasers are increasing, the Milwaukee case is considered potentially groundbreaking because the officers seek to hold the now-defunct gun shop liable.

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