Woman sues pawn shop for selling gun to daughter - KCTV5 News

Woman sues pawn shop for selling gun to daughter

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A Wellington, MO, woman is suing a pawn shop that sold her mentally ill daughter a gun that the woman then used to fatally shoot her father.

Janet Delana appeared at a news conference Wednesday with attorneys for the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence to announce the suit filed earlier Wednesday in Lafayette County Circuit Court.

The lawsuit alleges Colby Sue Weathers was schizophrenic and had a history of serious mental illness when she went into Odessa Gun & Pawn in Odessa, 40 miles east of Kansas City, and purchased a .45-caliber gun June 27, 2012. Just over an hour later she is accused of shooting her father in the back of the head.

During a news conference, Janet Delaney recalled her pleas via a telephone call to a pawn shop two days before her daughter walked in and made the purchase.

"Please, please, please I'm begging you, the mother, don't sell her a gun again," Delaney said. "They did, and as result, my husband lost his life."

A manager at the pawn shop had not seen the lawsuit and declined to comment.

The lawsuit alleges that based on Delaney's phone call that the gun seller should have known her daughter was a danger to herself and others, and not sold the weapon to Weathers.

"Part of the reason this lawsuit has been brought is to prevent other families from suffering what Janet's family has suffered," said Jonathan Lowy, director of the legal action project of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. "This gun dealer should have known it was too great a risk to supply Colby Weathers with a gun."

The center is named after Ronald Reagan's press secretary, Jim Brady, who was permanently disabled after taking a bullet to the head during an assassination attempt. Brady and his wife are now ardent supporters of gun control.

Federal law bans the sale of guns to the mentally ill who have been committed to an institution or found "mentally defective" by a judge.

Weathers had previously bought another gun from the pawn shop, which is why Delaney contacted them.

"It came out she intended to use that gun to commit suicide. Her dad and I found out about the gun, and her dad took it away from her immediately," Delaney said.

When Delaney called the pawn shop, she even provided her daughter's social security number to the person answering the phone. She said her daughter had been diagnosed as schizophrenic and had a lengthy history of suicide attempt and hospitalizations.

"I thought maybe I'd be proactive and call the gun shop in case she tried to do it again," Delaney recalled.

University of Missouri at Kansas City law professor Allen Rostron, who formerly worked at the Brady Center, said he believes "people on both sides of the gun issue" will agree that selling a gun to a mentally unstable person was wrong.

Steve Hall, an election volunteer coordinator for the NRA, concurred.

"I can't imagine any NRA member who would think that's fine to sell a gun to a mentally ill person," he said. "We don't want them having guns. We want people who are responsible."

Delaney said she supports responsible gun ownership.

"This isn't about a person's right to own a gun or not to own a gun. I own a gun myself," she said. "It's about responsibility. You have to be responsible. People like my daughter are not. She has no business owning a gun."

Weathers has been charged with first-degree murder. She was committed after being declared incompetent. A judge on March 3 found that Weather was competent to proceed with the legal proceedings against her.

A hearing has been set for April 11 in which Weathers could plead guilty or the judge could set a trial date, according to online court records.

A Caldwell County judge is handling the case after a request for a change of judge was granted.

Copyright 2014 KCTV (Meredith Corp.). and The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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