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Two Milwaukee police officers wounded with a gun sold by Badger Guns won a victory in court Tuesday when a Milwaukee County judge rejected a motion to dismiss their lawsuit against the West Milwaukee gun dealer.

Circuit Judge Timothy Dugan said that at this early stage of the negligence and public nuisance case, he is required to accept facts in the officers’ lawsuit as accurate.

But Dugan’s ruling is important for the officers because it allows their attorneys to begin the process of discovery – gathering of evidence including depositions.

“This case can take a whole different turn at discovery,” said Dugan, who may move off the case when judges rotate in August.

James Vogts, attorney for Badger Guns, argued that a federal law forbids such lawsuits and the case should have been dismissed.

The officers’ attorneys contended the federal law allows their suit and say the gun store engaged in “illegal and negligent conduct.”

The lawsuit was filed in October on behalf of officer Jose Lopez III and former officer Alejandro Arce, two of six Milwaukee police officers injured over a 20-month period with guns sold by Badger Guns or its predecessor, Badger Outdoors.

A separate suit was filed in December by officers Bryan Norberg and Graham Kunisch, who were injured in June 2009 by a man using a gun purchased a month earlier at Badger Guns. A motion to dismiss that case is set for hearing next month.

Badger Guns and Badger Outdoors have been the top sellers of crime guns recovered by Milwaukee police for at least the past decade, according to records obtained last year by the Journal Sentinel.

In 2005, Badger Outdoors was the top seller of crime guns in the nation with 537 such weapons.

Source: John Diedrich for the Journal Sentinel.

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