Gun reform group says judge wrongly dismissed Emanuel AME - FBI lawsuit

Mother Emanuel AME (Provided)

A national gun reform group thinks a judge misinterpreted federal law when he dismissed a lawsuit against the FBI by families of the Emanuel AME Church shooting victims.

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence on Tuesday filed a brief in support of the Emanuel families as they ask the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider the dismissed case.

In the original lawsuit, the families sought to hold the FBI accountable for its failed background check on Dylann Roof, which allowed Roof to legally buy the handgun used in the Emanuel shooting.

In Tuesday's filing, the Brady Campaign says U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel incorrectly interpreted federal gun law when he dismissed the Emanuel families' lawsuit in June 2018.

Gergel, despite a scathing rebuke of the FBI for its background check system he called "hopelessly stuck in 1995," ruled the FBI was immune from prosecution based on his interpretation of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act ("Brady Act").

The Brady Campaign says Gergel was wrong when he broadly applied the law's immunity statutes to the entire FBI as an extension of the United States government.

Instead, the Brady Campaign holds the law is more narrow in its language, only exempting individual employees from prosecution, not the government itself.

The group takes other issues with the dismissal of the Emanuel lawsuit as well, claiming that the FBI had actually waived its right to immunity from prosecution during the trial.

The group also says Congress specifically allowed for such lawsuits holding the federal government accountable when it passed the Brady Act.

Read the full lawsuit below, or CLICK HERE.

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