NORTH KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Janet Delana says she pleaded with a western Missouri pawn shop two years ago not to sell a gun to her mentally ill daughter, warning them she was suicidal and her behavior had become increasingly erratic.
Two days later, Odessa Gun & Pawn, 40 miles east of Kansas City, sold Colby Weathers a weapon, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday against the pawn shop. It claims an hour after the sale, Weathers used the gun to fatally shoot her father in the back of the head.
The suit claims the pawn shop was negligent when it sold the gun to an obviously incompetent person. At a news conference on Wednesday, Delana said she wasn’t questioning anyone’s right to own a gun.
“I own a gun, myself. I have several family members that own guns,” she said. “It’s about responsibility. You have to be responsible. People like my daughter, she’s not, she wasn’t, and she had no business owning a gun.”
A man who identified himself as a manager at Odessa Pawn said Wednesday he hadn’t seen the lawsuit and declined to comment.
Prosecutors have charged Weathers, 40, with first-degree murder and she is scheduled for a plea or trial setting next month. Her attorney has indicated he plans to use an insanity defense.
Attorneys for the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, who are helping represent Delana in the lawsuit, said Missouri’s gun laws would have allowed the pawn shop to refuse to sell Weathers a gun.
Jonathan Lowy, an attorney for the Brady Center, said his organization has filed “tens” of similar lawsuits across the country alleging gun dealers were negligent when they sold guns that were used in killings.
Less than a month before the June 27, 2012, shooting of Tex Delana, Weathers bought a different gun from Odessa Gun & Pawn and intended to commit suicide, Janet Delana said.
Her lawsuit says that Weathers, who was diagnosed in 2011 with paranoid schizophrenia and put on Social Security disability, was “in the throes of her hallucinatory and out-of-control mental state” when she went into the pawn shop on May 29, 2012, and purchased a semi-automatic pistol.
“After sitting with the loaded gun and contemplating suicide, Weathers became scared and informed her parents she had bought a gun,” the lawsuit says. Tex Delana immediately got rid of the weapon, Janet Delana said.
After her daughter started acting even more strange and hostile, Janet Delana said she called the pawn shop, gave a manager her daughter’s information and urged him to not allow Weathers to buy a gun. Delana said the manager was the same one who had sold her daughter the gun weeks earlier.
“Please, please, I’m begging you as a mother, don’t sell her a gun again,” Delana said. “They did, and as a result my husband lost his life.”