Lawsuit Blames Online Gun Site For Woman's Murder

DuPage woman killed by ex-boyfriend with gun allegedly bought through Web site

By Marcus Riley and Charlie Wojciechowski
|  Wednesday, Dec 12, 2012  |  Updated 3:25 PM CDT
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The Brady Center To Prevent Gun Violence is targeting Armslist.com and suing on behalf of the family of 36-year-old Jitka Vesel, a DuPage County woman who was stalked and killed by her ex-boyfriend last year.

The Brady Center To Prevent Gun Violence is targeting Armslist.com and suing on behalf of the family of 36-year-old Jitka Vesel, a DuPage County woman who was stalked and killed by her ex-boyfriend last year.

An anti-gun organization filed a lawsuit Wednesday against an Internet gun website.

The Brady Center To Prevent Gun Violence is targeting Armslist.com and suing on behalf of the family of 36-year-old Jitka Vesel, a DuPage County woman who was stalked and killed by her ex-boyfriend last year.

The suit claims that Dmitry Smirnov, who pleaded guilty to the crime and is serving a life sentence, bought the gun illegally through a sale facilitated by the web site. Vesel saw the gun for sale on the web site and bought the gun from an individual in Washington, which is an illegal transaction.

“It should be harder to buy a handgun than a used sofa on Craigslist,” Jonathan Lowy of the Brady Center said.

Armslist.com dubs itself as the "free gun classifieds on the web." It allows individuals and dealers to place ads to sell their firearms, or to place ads looking for specific items. A disclaimer on the site asks users to "comply with local, state, federal, and international law," and states that Armslist "does not become involved in transactions between parties."

According to the Brady Center, it's the first ever lawsuit that attempts to place the blame on an online site for casing a shooting.

“This is not about the Second Amendment," Lowy said. "It’s about responsibility.”

Jitka's brother, Alex Vesely, who's a plaintiff in the case and her friend, Theresa O'Rourke, spoke with the media Wednesday about the case.

"It makes me angry that some murderous guy can just go buy a gun on the Internet. Just go on a web page and no problem" Vesely said. “I want to prevent further damage, tragedy like that. I will do whatever it takes.”

“Jitka Vesel was my heart," O'Rourke said. "How can you live without your heart?”

Armslist also came under fire following a fatal shooting at a Brookfield spa earlier this year in which the shooter bought a gun from the site.

The Washington, DC-based Brady Center works to reform the gun industry and reduce gun violence. It's named after Jim Brady, President Ronald Reagan's press secretary who was shot and seriously wounded during an assassination attempt on Reagan in 1981.

Attempts to reach Armslist.com for comment were not immediately returned.

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