Family sues website that allegedly sold Surrey killer a gun

The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence has launched a wrongful death action against armslist.com

Demetry Smirnov

Demetry Smirnov

The family of a slain woman in the U.S. is suing the website that allegedly sold her Surrey killer the gun.

Demetry Smirnov moved to the Chicago area in 2008 after meeting Chicago’s Jitka Vesel through an online dating service. Vesel eventually returned to a former boyfriend and Smirnov returned to Canada.

Surrey’s Smirnov returned to Illinois, after allegedly buying a 40-caliber handgun at armlist.com and Smirnov approached her in a parking lot and started shooting and as he was reloading, she threw her coffee on him and fell to the ground. He continued firing, prosecutors say. She was found with numerous shots to the head and body.

He pleaded guilty to the murder, and has been sentenced to life in prison.

Now, Vesel’s brother is suing the website where it’s believed Smirnov bought the gun.

The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence has launched the lawsuit on his behalf, and said it has filed an action against armslist.com for wrongful death.

It’s the first lawsuit against a gun website for causing a shooting.

“Responsible gun sellers and web site operators, like most Americans, recognize that guns should be sold with the greatest care, to prevent arming dangerous people with the means to kill,” said the Brady Center’s Legal Action Project Director, Jonathan Lowy, counsel for the family.  “Gun sellers and web site operators who facilitate the arming of killers and criminals must be held accountable.  We as a nation are better than an anonymous Internet gun market where killers and criminals can easily get guns.”

The complaint alleges that the website’s design encourages and enables users to evade laws that allow private sellers to sell firearms only to residents of their own state by enticing prospective buyers to search for and find gun sellers throughout all 50 states.

Sales conducted over the Internet frequently have been linked to illegal gun trafficking and sales to minors, and have been connected to the mass shootings at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University.  A recent undercover investigation by the City of New York of online firearm sellers found that 62 per cent of private gun sellers agreed to sell a firearm to a buyer who said that he probably could not pass a background check.  The City reported that in the undercover sting, more than half of the gun sellers contacted who were listed by Armslist agreed to sell a gun to someone who said he could not pass a background check, in violation of federal law.

Jitka was killed in the parking lot of the Chicago-area Czechoslovak Heritage Museum where she had been working as a volunteer to prepare for a celebration in honor of former Czech-American Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak.  Ironically, Mayor Cermak was assassinated with a handgun in 1933 while shaking hands with President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was the intended target of the assassin.

Brady alleges the gun seller pleaded guilty to the illegal transfer of a firearm to an out-of-state person, a felony, and was sentenced to one year and a day in prison.

@diakiw

 

Surrey North Delta Leader

Just Posted

File photo
Surrey Board of Trade vows ‘a lot of noise’ will be made about tax increases

Huberman calls for comprehensive tax review at all levels of government

William Henry Rawlison was last seen on Sunday, June 20, 2021. (Contributed photo)
Police looking for missing White Rock senior

William Rawlison, last seen on June 20, may be driving to Kamloops

TEASER PHOTO ONLY - Hillcrest Drive-In's sign at the end its run in Surrey, in a photo uploaded to cinematreasures.org by hermangotlieb.
SURREY NOW & THEN: The city’s last drive-in, Hillcrest showed movies for 50 years on site turned shopping mall

‘It was a good memory, being the last drive-in in the Lower Mainland, at the time,’ says former operator Jay Daulat

United Truckers Association members outside Labour Minister/Surrey-Newton MLA Harry Bains’ office on Monday, June 21. (submitted photo: UTA)
Protesting truckers park outside Labour Minister’s Surrey office; daily rallies promised

The truckers take issue with unlicensed trucks taking work away from legitimate owner operators, and more

Natalie Brown and Colten Wilke star in the feature film Thunderbird, co-produced by South Surrey-raised Michael Morrison and released this month in Canada, the U.S and the U.K. (Contributed photo)
South Surrey-raised producer helps bring ‘Thunderbird’ to the screen

Michael Morrison guides B.C.-shot thriller with First Nations connection

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

A blood drive in support of 1-year-old Rielynn Gormley of Agassiz is scheduled for Monday, June 28 at Tzeachten First Nation Community Hall in Chilliwack. Rielynn lives with type 3 von Willebrand disease, which makes it difficult for her to stop bleeding. (Screenshot/Canadian Blood Services)
Upcoming blood drive in honour of Fraser Valley toddler with rare blood condition

The Gormley family has organized a blood drive in Chilliwack on June 28

Most Read