KANSAS CITY, Mo – A gun store owner has taken responsibility for his part in the 2016 death of a Kansas City man.
A civil lawsuit filed in Jackson County Court claims Green Tip Arms owner Christopher Bendet, gun manufacturer Jiminez Arms and Kansas City firefighter James Samuels are responsible for the death of 29-year-old Dwight Crawford, even though they didn't pull the trigger.
As part of its settlement, Green Tip Arms agreed to give up its license and Bendet has been shut down.
“We've taken a step towards holding gun manufacturers and people in the gun industry accountable,” said Dwight Crawford’s father Alvino Crawford. “That's not something that's typically been done, and I think this is a step in the right direction.”
KCMO firefighter James Samuels is also criminally charged in federal court for trafficking guns. It was allegedly one of his guns that killed Dwight Crawford.
The lawsuit claims that Jiminez Arms sold dozens of guns directly to Samuels, even though he didn't have a license to sell them.
Samuels was also buying a large quantity of guns from Green Tip Arms. So many that the lawsuit alleges Bendet should have picked up on Samuels’ suspicious behavior.
Samuels would then allegedly sell the guns on the street, many of them to convicted felons, knowing they were going to be used to hurt people.
For Crawford, it's Green Tip Arms down, two to go. He hopes the one piece that has fallen will cause a tidal wave.
“We are not done,” Crawford said. “That sends a message to this industry that you have to stop doing things that are illegal. This is not about the Second Amendment. As I said before, I own guns. It's not about that. It's about holding people accountable for doing things wrong.”
Crawford hopes this win will push legislators to act.
“We have a generation that we are about to lose if we don't make some decisions.” Crawford said.
Jiminez Arms is based out of Las Vegas, Nevada, where Wednesday’s Democratic Presidential Primary Debate was just held.
Crawford said if he could have asked a question to the candidates it would have been this:
“You are aware that we just entered into a settlement with Green Tip Arms and obviously this organization will no longer have a license to sell guns. So I am interested in your perspective on that and then secondly what are you absolutely going to do if you get elected to make change in our country to impact gun violence?’
While far from the finish line, Crawford is going to celebrate this win in a very special way.
“I'm probably going to go by his gravesite and just let him know, ‘We did what we could to take care of it son,' and I think he would be happy.”
The case against Samuels and Jiminez Arms is moving slowly.
Samuels is fighting a criminal case in federal court, and after losing at least two motions to dismiss it from the civil suit, Jiminez filed for bankruptcy.
The Crawfords say no matter how long it takes, they're fighting to the end.