Santa Fe High School settlement leads to change for online ammunition purchases

Briana Conner Image
Friday, February 10, 2023
2018 Santa Fe HS shooting: Families of victims celebrate victory after legal victory over company that sold shooter ammunition
Families of the Santa Fe HS shooting victims plan to speak about a legal victory over the companies that sold and delivered ammunition the suspect used to kill 10 of his classmates and teacher

SANTA FE, Texas (KTRK) -- On Friday, families of the Santa Fe High School shooting victims plan to speak about a legal victory over the companies that sold and delivered ammunition the 17 year-old-suspect used to kill 10 of his classmates and teachers back in 2018.

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The settlement comes with a change that could help prevent other families from dealing with heartache and losing a loved one in a mass shooting.

Rhonda Hart lost her daughter, Kim, in the shooting. "I said, 'Bye, Kim. I love you', just like that. That was the last thing I ever said to her," Hart said as she remembers their last moments together.

"Since then, me and some of the other Santa Fe families have been working tirelessly to change the culture of gun violence in the state of Texas," she said.

While pushing for gun safety legislation in Austin on Tuesday, Hart likely did not know their efforts would result in new ammunition sales requirements before the week's end.

On Thursday, Eyewitness News learned of a settlement between Santa Fe families and online ammunition retailer LuckyGunner, which now requires the company to verify that a purchaser is 21 or older. The 17-year-old Santa Fe shooter bought his bullets from them, although he was legally too young.

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"All you can do, at this point, is punish the other side and hope for change. That was definitely accomplished," Steve Shellist, a legal analyst, said.

On the website now, LuckyGunner notifies buyers that they must verify the recipient's age before shipping. If they can't do that, the order will be held.

The company's CEO, Jack Felde, released a statement on the settlement. It says: "We didn't agree to do anything we weren't already doing. We'll continue investing in a world-class experience for American gun owners. We want ammo sales to be secure, convenient, and cost-effective for every law-abiding American."

"If they're true to their word, then they're only going to sell ammunition to adults. That's the best we can hope for right now. It's a small step, but it's a big step, " Shellist said.

The agreement only pertains to LuckyGunner, but Shellist said it still has the potential to impact how gun and ammunition sellers operate.

"It definitely sends a message to all the other online manufacturers and distributors. It says, 'Hey, we need to do things differently, or we're going to be on the hook. So, I'd imagine they're all listening."

The Santa Fe High School shooting victims' families plan to speak at The Chair Art Installation Friday at 4 p.m.

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