Craigslist-like website for gun sales not liable for woman’s murder

A Craigslist-like website that facilitates weapons sales between buyers and sellers cannot be liable for the actions of its users, including the murder of a woman by a handgun advertised on the site, a federal appeals court ruled.

The case decided Tuesday by the 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals concerns a woman murdered in 2011 with a .40-caliber handgun that a Seattle man advertised on Armslist for $400. A Canadian man bought the weapon.

Demetry Smirnov, the gun purchaser, murdered Jitka Vesel in Chicago with that weapon after an online romance soured. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison. The man who sold him the gun, Benedict Ladera, was handed a year in jail for illegally selling the firearm, as federal regulations prohibit the transfer of weapons to people in another state or country, the appeals court said.