Cabela’s, and its parent company, Bass Pro in court on Gun Charges

| August 10, 2018

The estate of Bryan Galliher — through Columbus-based law firm Cooper & Elliott and the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence — filed the lawsuit Tuesday morning in the Wayne County Court of Common Pleas.

In the complaint, attorneys argued Cabela’s, and its parent company, Bass Pro Group LLC, violated state law by selling a “black powder gun” — a replica of an antique firearm made from modern materials — to Paul R. Claren, the Orrville man who killed Galliher using the gun in August 2016.

The lawsuit alleges that Cabela’s knew, or should have known, about Claren’s violent past, and therefore should not have sold him the black powder revolver.

“Cabela’s and its employees knew and/or should have known firearms law in Ohio, the state in which it was operating, including the law that prohibited Cabela’s from selling a black powder firearm to Claren,” the complaint states.

The lawsuit alleges that Claren purchased an 1858 Army .44-caliber black powder revolver from Cabela’s over the phone in December 2014. In July 2016, Cabela’s also sold Claren a black powder loading kit that he used to load the revolver, the lawsuit states.

Harry Campbell, a police officer and chief investigator for the Stark County Coroner’s Office, testified during the trial that under federal firearms regulations, anyone could purchase the type of pistol Claren used without going through an FBI background check. He added Ohio law is more restrictive when it comes to convicted felons.

I am unfamiliar with Ohio law specific to this idea that they must run some kind of a background check different than that which is required by Federal law.  Does Ohio have some mechanism by which you can see the criminal history of anyone wanting to purchase a firearm?    Many questions unasked in this article.  If he was not required to fill out a Form 4473, how does the gun shop know if he is not supposed to have a Black Powder Pistol?  Maybe the Buckeye state has a system that I just don’t know about.  You can read the whole thing HERE.

Category: Guns

Comments (68)

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  1. 26Limabeans says:

    Black Powder Matters

  2. Ex-PH2 says:

    Here’s an issue in this story:

    “a replica of an antique firearm made from modern materials”

    and in a later sentence: The lawsuit alleges that Claren purchased an 1858 Army .44-caliber black powder revolver from Cabela’s….

    Now, either it’s an antique revolver, or it is a replica. It cannot be both. If it was made in 1858, the statement ‘replica made using modern materials’ is incorrect, because it says the gun is a replica. So which is it? Replica or antique?

    Oh, crap, it’s all BS and an excuse to avoid blaming the shooter for being a jackass. Instead, blame the seller for making a sale when there was no knowledge that the seller knew the buyer was a nutball.

    I now blame Dillinger’s guns for the crimes he committed.

    • The Al says:

      It’s a replica of a Remington model 1858 Army pistol, also known as Remington-Beals Model Revolvers. They’re called the 1858 pistol due to the patent markings on the cylinder.

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      Thank you for the feedback on my question. A REAL 1858 Army .44 gun like that would be worth a small fortune and certainly would not be sold by Cabela’s.

      • Fyrfighter says:

        Actually EX, the Gun Library at Cabela’s might well have such a gun, though you are very correct on it being worth a small fortune.

      • Ex-PH2 says:

        Is that the gun that was used in ‘Josey Wales’?

        Isn’t it practice that makes you and the gun accurate?

        I think these hysterical twerps are afraid we’ll revert to the shoot ’em up street challenges that all those Hollywood westerns glamorized. There was more of that in 19th century Philadelphia than there was in “the Old West”.

        • rgr769 says:

          Yes, the pistol Josey Wales was using in the movie of that name was a reproduction of the Remington Model 1858 percussion revolver. I used one in my Civil War cavalry re-enacting because it was easy to change cylinders to a spare loaded one while on horseback. Whereas, the Colt percussion .44 cal had to be partially disassembled to change cylinders.

          • 11B-Mailclerk says:

            Josey Wales mainly used a pair of Colt Walker .44s. He did use some others.

            I believe you are thinking of Preacher in Pale Rider, who used a cartridge-converted Remington .44. (Also a pocket Remington)

            • rgr769 says:

              The only large percussion pistol one can quickly change cylinders on without removing the barrel wedge and barrel is the Remington. Colt Walkers may have appeared in the movie, but that one scene where he quickly changes cylinders has to be the Remington Model 1858.

              • CDR_D says:

                You are conflating the movie “Josie Wales” (Colt Walkers) with a different movie “Pale Rider” (’58 Remington).

    • Mayhem says:

      God thing it wasn’t one a them “Assault Replica Revolvers” with the collapsible thingy and 30 round “clip” thingy” Did it come with a “Bump Stop”? That’s where the real story should be. Is Cabelas selling Replica revolvers with a bump stop. Inkwiring minds wanna know.

  3. J.R. Johnson says:

    Well they will have an uphill battle on this one. Ohio law specifies that felons convicted of violent crimes are prohibited from knowingly acquiring, having, carrying, or using any firearm or dangerous ordnance. So if you dig in to the Civil Code Black Powder Rifles and Pistols are not considered firearms. Then you dig in to what is considered a “dangerous ordnance: and it specifically says that Black Powder Rifles and Pistols and Black Powder are not considered dangerous ordnance. From the sounds of the case the defense claimed self defense in the shooting, and by federal and Ohio law Mr. Claren was within his rights to purchase and own a Black Powder pistol, and Cabelas was lawfully able to sell it to him. I guess Mr. Galliher should have thought twice about busting in his door to make his point in an argument!

    • Cowpill says:

      Ditto on this, Black Powder firearms are not held to the same standard as cartridge firearms.

    • Retired Grunt says:

      I have been saying that for YEARS, lol… black powder weapons even with replaceable cylinders, like extra magazines, are not considered firearms by the gov’t. All you need is an ID card to buy one. Period…. I’ve been waiting for someone to raise a stink about that to see where it went.

      • Martinjmpr says:

        You don’t need an ID card, you can buy black powder firearms through mail order or the internet with no paperwork requirements at all.

        Ditto for all the components (powder, balls, caps). The only restrictions on those are the HAZMAT rules regarding explosives.

    • MSG Eric says:

      Well, cannons are black powder and don’t have cylinders right? So we should all get cannons for home defense?

      Tally-ho bring on the ruffians and miscreants!

      • Graybeard says:

        I know more than one man who owns a reproduction cannon, and fires it now and again.

        Trouble is, a cannon is a crew-served weapon. Better have the kids well trained.

        Now a .50 muzzelloader with 70gr of FFF behind a round ball or a mini ball can put a world of hurt on an attacker.

    • rgr769 says:

      Black powder firing guns have never been considered subject to the federal firearms laws. That is why they can be freely sold by mail-order, internet, or direct sale in most states. Only a few states restrict or otherwise regulate their sale. That is why the subject felon was able to acquire one. I would imagine there is no Ohio law against the sale of the subject pistol to a person not known to be a felon by the seller. The lawyers think they can bootstrap their way to liability by arguing Cabela’s sold a dangerous product to this person. On appeal, if not sooner, they should lose. This is nothing but another example of “lawfare,” the Progs mechanism to wage political warfare against those who reject their crypto-communist plan to control the population.

    • Pat says:

      Although no one deserves to be shot for being a bully who terrorizes the neighborhood, I agree that Mr. Galliher should have kept to himself. I know for a fact that the gun was purchased solely for self defense. People that don’t know the truth about this case are quick to judge…it is a very sad thing for all involved.

  4. 11B-Mailclerk says:

    This is yet another attempt to “legislate by Judge”.

    They do not want folks able to obtain these items, and Congress and state legislatures won’t go along. So they will sue and get some Judge to apply rules not legislated. If the Judge won’t go along with the plan, they will at least get the firms sued to promise to pretend there was a law against lawful behavior.

    Next, they will be targeting the kits that allow one to build single-shot blackpowder guns.

    You -will- be disarmed, for your own good of course. Can’t have you thinking you can protect -yourself-, or that you can defy their black-clad thugs.

    The cap-n-ball revolver, such as the Remington above, is a hoot to shoot.

    • 26Limabeans says:

      “hoot to shoot”

      It’s the delay after squeezing the trigger that is exciting. You wait for it……Blam!
      Then flap your hat around to clear the smoke.

      • Graybeard says:

        My cap-and-ball Navy Colt doesn’t really have much in the way of noticeable lock-time.

        And the smoke from even a full cylinder is not too bad.

      • 11B-Mailclerk says:

        My capguns do go kaBoom, with a very momentary interval between cap and charge. (Keep the cap’s flame path clean and clear of oil)

        Ditto the flintlock.

        The trick on the flintlock is keeping the touch hole clear, and putting the very-fine priming powder only in the outermost 1/3 of the pan. it then flashes inward, and fast,instead of fuse-burning slowly.

        Poorly/overly primed, there is a distinct chirrrWhoooooofBoom, instead of chwhoBoom. (A good lock and flint helps)

        Great fun!

        • Graybeard says:

          And when you’re competing with your kids to see who can hit the gallon milk jug of water first, and that .50 ball sends water everywhere, it is a definite statement of victory.

    • desert says:

      Speking of legislation by judge! I see the dimwitted broad in Kalifornia, “Wine Stain” is trying to take the limelight away from her chinese spy driver, by starting up her bullshyt about the 2nd amend. and saying she would have ALL guns picked up if her bill would have gone through…I think there is room on the scaffold next to Maxine Waters for Wine Stain! imho

  5. SGT Fon says:

    even here in NYS, you are not required to do a NCIC background check for any black powder firearm. now just recently convicted felons are now prohibited from pwning or possing a BP gun the same as they would a regular non – BP pistol, shotgun or rifle after a paroled con shot a cop with a BP rifle a while back.

    Here in NY you can own a BP pistol, even if it is a BP cartridge gun as long as there is not commercially produced ammunition for it in the case of BP wheel guns or lacking one of the components to make it fire ( cap, ball or powder for percussion, ball or powder or flintlocks)
    most states, and i think ohio is no diffrent, consider a BP gun to be non firearms. here in NYS BB guns and sling shots (if they are wrist braced the owner is guilty of a 4th degree misdemeanor) actually have more regulation then BP guns do….

    • desert says:

      Just another VERMIN lawyer attention whore trying to make a name for himself with the liberal/communist/dumocraps imho

  6. OWB says:

    If only we were all able to read tealeaves, or something, to forecast future events it would be so easy to avoid things like traffic accidents and other life threatening events. Until then, nobody can read the minds of other people well enough to avoid every threat out there. And THAT is why folks need tools to protect themselves.

    Yeah, as excited as some folks get discussing gunz & ammo, they are just tools. Sometimes the very tool you need to protect yourself in your own home.

  7. David says:

    Per Ohio law no background check needs to be done on sales of black powder guns. I hope the judge not only pitches the suit, but makes the plaintiffs pay all costs.

    That being said, some of the most fun you can have at the range is to show up with suitable cartridges like .45 Colt, .44 Special, etc. loaded with black. You get surprisingly powerful loads, too… go compare a 250 grain bullet moving 1000 fps with normal .45 Auto specs. Leaves the ACP in the dust.

    • MSG Eric says:

      Really depends on if the judge wants to gain notoriety and/or infuse his own “interpretation” of the law and legislate from the bench or not.

      • David says:

        Judges hate reversal and on this Ohio and federal law are both very clear.

        • MSG Eric says:

          Well, with the amount of reversals done by the Supreme Court on appellate courts, it doesn’t seem that way. But perhaps that’s just at the higher level?

  8. Sparks says:

    Follow the money.

    • Graybeardc says:


    • Ex-PH2 says:

      That is akin to suing a Toyota dealership for selling a car that was used as a street IED to blow up and kill people as they drove/walked by in Baghdad, isn’t it?

      If the judge is not an idiot, he will call it frivolous litigation, and dismiss it w/prejudice. If he’s an idiot, he’ll spend far too much time “considering” everything instead of slapping it down.

  9. Martinjmpr says:

    I don’t think the purpose is necessarily to get money, rather it is to put the likes of Bass Pro on notice that if such a crime happens again they will once again have to undergo an expensive lawsuit.

    The logical net result will be that in order to avoid expensive litigation in the future, Bass Pro might simply stop selling black powder firearms which I’m sure is what the plaintiffs intended all along.

  10. Roh-Dog says:

    No one tell those radical Mennonites!!!
    I’ve been saying this shit for years, only a matter of time before someone gets a half dozen of these and lights up a soft target.
    Now the news has this very reasonable gun law all the fuck over mainstream media.
    Way to go press, way to go.

  11. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    “[Harry Campbell, a police officer and chief investigator for the Stark County Coroner’s Office] added Ohio law is more restrictive when it comes to convicted felons.”

    I’m not doing the research and we don’t know what question was posed to him (e.g., did it pertain to CCW or firearms purchase or tranfer?) so that’s not much help. Ohio law may contain some provision buried somewhere that requires a state criminal background check for licensed firearms dealers as well as the federal check. I have no idea…or are they just whistlin’ Dixie?

  12. 5th/77thFA says:

    If they’re gonna whistle Dixie, it is a lively tune, and the beat is not as Elvis did in his American Trilogy. The ’58 Army is a very nice piece that will kill you graveyard dead and is very accurate. One distinct advantage v the Colts Navy was the ease and rapidness of changing out the cylinders. The good pistoleers kept pre-loaded ones handy. Yes multiple cylinders or multiple pistols would wreak havoc on a soft target. The black powder weapons and accessories, powder, ball, caps ect., have been under quiet attack since the Oklahoma bombing, pricing and availability has gotten crazy. It’s a good thing I lost all of mine to the tornado, or they would have jumped off the rack and went out and kilt a bunch of folks.

  13. Gravel says:

    They have a snowball’s chance in hell of winning.

    Ohio Revised Code


    (L) “Dangerous ordnance” does not include any of the following:

    (1) Any firearm, including a military weapon and the ammunition for that weapon, and regardless of its actual age, that employs a percussion cap or other obsolete ignition system, or that is designed and safe for use only with black powder;

    (2) Any pistol, rifle, or shotgun, designed or suitable for sporting purposes, including a military weapon as issued or as modified, and the ammunition for that weapon, unless the firearm is an automatic or sawed-off firearm;

    (3) Any cannon or other artillery piece that, regardless of its actual age, is of a type in accepted use prior to 1887, has no mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, or other system for absorbing recoil and returning the tube into battery without displacing the carriage, and is designed and safe for use only with black powder;

    (4) Black powder, priming quills, and percussion caps possessed and lawfully used to fire a cannon of a type defined in division (L)(3) of this section during displays, celebrations, organized matches or shoots, and target practice, and smokeless and black powder, primers, and percussion caps possessed and lawfully used as a propellant or ignition device in small-arms or small-arms ammunition;

    (5) Dangerous ordnance that is inoperable or inert and cannot readily be rendered operable or activated, and that is kept as a trophy, souvenir, curio, or museum piece.

    (6) Any device that is expressly excepted from the definition of a destructive device pursuant to the “Gun Control Act of 1968,” 82 Stat. 1213, 18 U.S.C. 921 (a)(4), as amended, and regulations issued under that act.

    • Roh-Dog says:

      “designed and safe for use only with black powder”
      Safe is in the eye of the engineer.
      But by all means, put smokeless in a black powder replica.
      I hope the nicknames dumbass and/or stumpy suit your taste.

  14. FatCircles0311 says:

    Frivolous lawsuit. Should have been thrown out when it was filed. File it right into the trash. Looks like the judge is an activist piece of illiterate shit though. Judicial terrorism is action.

    What is next. Are they going to take UPS to court for delivering a non firearm used to kill someone because they should have known better. Gun banners are scum.

    • 11B-Mailclerk says:

      The target, longer term, is the “make your own gun” culture.

      BP guns are relatively easy to make. There are readily available kits. The whole modern “ghost gun” thing isn’t new at all. It just moves more common/ordinary designs into the “do it yourself” realm.

      Gun control is dead, but isn’t finished with the screaming and thrashing.

      Arm yourselves. Make a gun just to make them spazz.

  15. A Proud Infidel®™️ says:

    Another fine job of attention whoring by the Brady Foundation.

  16. David says:

    The judge could try to claim the Ohio law barring felons from having dangerous weapons outweighs Ohio law waiving background checks for black powder guns. Unfortunately for them, Ohio laws mirror Federal laws on background check, so reversal is still probable.

    • rgr769 says:

      There was no “waiver” of background checks. They have never been required for the purchase of any percussion or flintlock fired black powder gun. In addition, no background checks are required for guns manufactured pre-1899, irrespective of the fact that they can fire modern cartridges. I have several antique pistols made prior to 1899 that will fire modern .38 cal and 44-40 ammo, and they required no FFL or background check to purchase or sell.

  17. ETCS (ret) says:

    I know this is wrong, but now I want one.

    • rgr769 says:

      Cabela’s will be happy to sell you one over the phone or on your computer. Over the past 25 years, I have purchased over a dozen black powder guns in that way. They are not “firearms” under federal law and the statutes of most states. Back in the day, an Italian made Remington 1858 repo only cost about $140.00. They are over $340 now.

      • rgr769 says:

        Actually, Cabela’s will sell you one with the starter kit (everything you will need except powder and caps) for $319.99 plus shipping, provided you don’t reside in DC, HI, IL, MI, NJ, NY, and certain zip codes.

  18. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    Now that I’ve looked over some of Ohio’s statutes regarding guns, it’s awfully clear why the Brady Campaign is behind the lawsuit: Ohio has no problem with gun possession. Its laws are quite liberal, compared to other states.

    Gun grabbers want the guns. They do not care whether the method is through the legislature or the cash register, just so long as they get the guns. In this instance, the killer was under disability (OCR 2923.13)and committed a felony by merely possessing a firearm. Under the state law, his weapon of choice fit the definition of firearm (OCR 2923.11) and because gun dealers with a federal license are required to conduct background checks and none was conducted, the suit asserts that Cabella’s (Bass Pro) is vicariously liable for the harm done with the gun. That’s it. In my view, this is just another Brady Campaign effort to discourage retailers from selling guns. It’s not about money or even the likelihood of prevailing. It’s about hurting a national chain in the PR department, hoping they will go the way of Dick’s (Some) Sporting Goods and Field and Stream.

    • OWB says:


      The up side is that your small, local, privately owned store is more difficult for lefties to control. Those home town capitalists benefit every time one of the conglomerates is targeted.

    • rgr769 says:

      Except, I doubt Ohio state law requires a background check for the purchase of black powder weapons. Every internet/mail order retailer of black powder pistols refuses to send them to states that don’t allow their purchase under their state laws. I suspect our subject homeowner/convicted felon purchased the subject revolver at an out of state brick and mortar Cabela’s, which anyone can do. If there is an Ohio statute which requires the seller to conduct a background check on any purchaser of a black powder pistol, point us to it, because even in the Peoples’ Republic of Commiefornia there is no such requirement.

      • rgr769 says:

        Cabela’s restricts internet/mail order sales to five states and DC. Ohio is not one of them.

      • 2/17 Air Cav says:

        “If there is an Ohio statute which requires the seller to conduct a background check on any purchaser of a black powder pistol, point us to it…” The argument being made is that:
        1. Black powder pistols come under the state’s firearm definition because it is not excluded; and

        2. The seller was a federally licensed retailer and was, therefore, required to determine whether the buyer was legally permitted to have the firearm.

        It’s their argument, not mine.

        • 2/17 Air Cav says:

          And in a pre-emptive strike, I offer that the firearm definition and the explosive ordnance definition in the state’s code are two distinct items.

        • rgr769 says:

          Their argument won’t withstand legal analysis by anyone who understands the requirements of an FFL and federal firearms law. The case should end up in federal court and will likely be dismissed. Hopefully, the plaintiffs and their attorneys will get nailed with Rule 11 sanctions.

          • OWB says:

            Th anti’s would be glad to win the suit, of course, but they probably don’t expect to do anything other than make Cabellas/Bass Pro spend as much $$ as possible. Anarchy rules amongst lefties. However they can be disruptive is their end game. They seem to only get pleasure from causing pain to others.