The Ultimate Firearms Destination for the Gun Lifestyle

KE Arms, Brownells, And Others Sued By Anti-AR-15 Investor [UPDATE]

Update 10/27/23:

Another round of major updates in the case. Almost all of it is good news for the Pro-2A fans, but the wheels of justice still turn slowly.

This week the court issued rulings on all outstanding motions in GWACS vs KE Arms (KEA). Most of these rulings were in KE Arms favor.

In my previous update I had mentioned that what this case started out as over 3 years ago and what the case is now are very different things. What GWACS is left with are allegations KE Arms used a GWACS investor packet or GWACS trade secrets in the development of the KP-15.

GWACS’ motion to reconsider is denied. The court previously found that designs of the MKI and MKII are not protectable trade secrets. The court refuses to overrule itself with no new contrary evidence or law.

GWACS’ expert testimony is partially excluded. GWACS’ expert cannot testify regarding the (1) the design, manufacture, and features of the MKI and MKII receivers; and (2) implying that KEA engaged in illegal or improper conduct if it relied on the design of the MKI or MKII for its KP-15 receiver.

Reed Oppenheimer must testify at the trial. The court denied GWACS’ attempt to keep Reed Oppenheimer out of the trial. The court agreed with KEA that Reed Oppenheimer’s testimony that he declined further investment in GWACS' business is relevant to GWACS’ inability to produce and market its products and whether or not GWACS is able to recover damages for lost profits.

Evidence of GWACS’ lapsed FFL and business registration is relevant. The court denied GWACS’ attempt to exclude their lapsed FFL and business registration. The court explained that “KEA has a valid argument that these facts are relevant to GWACS’ demand for damages.” In essence, KEA believes that GWACS should not recover damages for products it was not legally allowed to sell.

GWACS’ investor packets will come in as evidence in trial. The court held there are triable issues as to whether Mike Kenney (KEA) ever received investor packets from GWACS. Accordingly, the issue will have to be resolved by the jury.

The court has also ordered another settlement conference be held.

With GWACS evidence and arguments limited at trial I remain confident of KEA’s eventual legal victory.

The case to date has incurred costs in excess of $700,000.00. For a small company this is substantial. For a multimillionaire backed company like GWACS that gets multi-million dollar government grants to develop gunshot location systems, the legal costs are relatively minimal. Reed Oppenheimer testified he was willing to fund the lawsuit, but not fund new tooling for GWACS.

The amount of money GWACS has spent on this case would have funded repairs and upgrades to their existing tooling easily or several sets of new tooling. The sum of their actions should be clear; they don’t want to service the commercial market and they don’t want a company that has the ability to make 1000 receivers a day to continue to exist. This is of course unless its GWACS selling those guns to foreign government forces along with their gunshot location systems.

Russell Phagan, SinistralRifleman/Sinistral Shooting Technologies (Previous defendant in the case)

If you're interested in supporting KE Arm's legal battle, they are selling some pretty cool pieces of history. The remaining 30 KP-15 prototypes for sale. Unique pieces that can never be made again, all of them with serial numbers under 50. They also come decked out in some great KE Arms kit.

Update 2/27/23:

The lawsuit against KE Arms Et Al. has been mostly dismissed. The only defendant that remains is KE Arms itself.

As of today GWACS frivolous lawsuit against myself, my company, Shawn Nealon, and Brownells had been dismissed. From the beginning we believed there was no basis for these parties to be named in this case, and we are glad to see that the court agrees with us in their ruling today.

Some of the causes of action against KE Arms have been dismissed, while some much more limited in scope remain.

What comes next is another settlement conference and trial has been postponed to April 17th currently.

Thank you to everyone in the 2A Community who has supported us thus far. I am as humbled by your support as I am proud to have helped bring the best and most commercially successful monolithic polymer receiver to the market.

For those of you who are able, please continue to support KE Arms in seeing this through to the end by purchasing products directly. KE Arms will continue its mission to make quality cost effective firearms available doing its part to make sure the 2nd Amendment is available to everyone.

Russell Phagan, SinistralRifleman/Sinistral Shooting Technologies (Previous defendant in the case)

Congratulations to the KE Arms team and all of the defendants in this lawsuit. It is good to see justice prevail!

Original Article:

Many of you may be aware that we live in a time and place where lawsuits are common. If you’ve ever been unfortunate enough to be targeted by a lawsuit, you know how draining it proves.

Second Amendment supporters are no strangers to the legal system and often use it to preserve and protect our rights.

But that system can also be used against people.

Recently, KE Arms and Russell Phagan, along with Karl Kasarda from InRangeTV, have gone public regarding a lawsuit filed against KE Arms by GWACS Armory concerning the KP-15 polymer lower and the What Would Stoner Do (WWSD) project from InRangeTV and Brownells.

KP-15 Buildsheet
RECOIL's KP-15

Lawsuit Basics

In short, Cavalry Arms Corp. developed a monolithic polymer lower around 2000 and released it as the CAV-15 MK I. A few years later, in 2003, they released the MK II version. Cavalry Arms Corp. would produce those lowers until 2010.

When Cavalry Arms closed shop, the molds and tooling were sold to Russell Phagan, who later sold them to GWACS Armory.

GAWCS revived the production of the CAV-15 MK II from 2011-2019.

In 2017, InRangeTV launched their WWSD project and selected the CAV-15 MK II as their lower of choice.

GWACS did not hold any intellectual properties pertaining to the component's design or the WWSD project. The company purely produced the lowers using the molds developed by CAV Arms.

With the popularity of the WWSD 2017 project, GWACS quickly sold out of lowers. Once out, GAWCS went dark and then folded, no longer manufacturing the lowers and publicly posting about their exit from the market in 2019.

Upon GAWCS dissolution and seeing a market demand for monolithic polymer AR-15 lowers, KE Arms picked up the reigns and developed an entirely new design, new mold, new tooling, and new processes to produce the KP-15, and KP-9 polymer lowers.

Fast forwarding through the usual early legal jostling, GAWCS' present suit alleges KE Arms, Russell Phagan, et al. are in violation of a non-disclosure agreement, disseminating trade secrets and other claims in a case dragging on for over two years now.

As Kasarda points out, there are highly questionable and seemingly nonsensical claims to anyone with a grasp of firearm history. One such example he discussed in a YouTube video, is GAWCS asserting the M16A1 length of pull is a protected trade secret of the company… that it invented some 40-plus years after the M16A1 was fielded in the jungles of Vietnam. 

Original Colt M16A1 featuring an A1 length of pull.

If you’re as confused as I am, the lawsuit goes downhill from there.

A more complete rundown of the claims and their absurdity can be found in InRangeTV’s video.

THE USUAL SUSPECTS

Why is GWACS suing in the first place? While I cannot know the minds of other men, Kasarda does provide some interesting information in his video on the topic. 

Per Kasarda, an angel investor is funding GWACS' lawsuit. Once a 45-percent owner of GWACS, one Reed Oppenheimer is now paying for this crusade against KE Arms et al. Per FEC filings, Oppenheimer is a Tulsa, Okla., businessman whose employer is listed as RJOF–presumably the Tulsa-based non-profit Reed Jules Oppenheimer Foundation.

(right) Reed Oppenheimer

So, what's Oppenheimer's interest in the case?

Found in depositions for this case, it seems this is a personal vendetta of sorts Oppenheimer has against the entire Second Amendment community. Based on statements made in depositions, Oppenheimer is flagrantly against the AR-15 in the hands of civilian ownership.

In his deposition, he said, “I don't like AR-15s.”

Apparently, so much so he is willing to singlehandedly fund this entire lawsuit.

It’s a strange stance to have when the company you’re funding's only product is… an AR-15.

Mr. Reed Oppenheimer

If you’ve seen the movie The Usual Suspects (1995), then you’ll know who I’m talking about when I whisper the name Keyser Söze. The power of Söze’s name in the film comes from the fact no one truly knows who he is. A shadowy figure who is responsible for masterminding criminal enterprises. Think of him as the Wizard of Oz, but with a cooler name and a better movie.

That power, both the Wizard's and Söze's, is lost once a spotlight is cast and their identity revealed.

I doubt Oppenheimer is as diabolical as the Wizard or Söze. Still, I tried to find out more about the man who hates the Constitution enough to spend tens of thousands on a lawsuit to suppress the free exercise of the Second Amendment.

While the RJOF website is now defunct, seemingly pulled down just this week (we wonder why…), the WaybackMachine still remembers.

Screen cap of RJOF.com via WayBack Machine

According to the old website, “The Reed Jules Oppenheimer Foundation (RJOF), a private, not-for-profit corporation founded in 2012, is the successor of several family foundations through that Reed and Gabrielle Oppenheimer and their children, Sophie, Eric, Meaghan, and Luke have supported a multitude of charitable causes since 1982.”

Looking at Form 990 tax filings for RJOF, the organization appears to basically give money to a range of causes – sometimes over $1,000,000 per year.

If we take a peek at Reed’s FEC filings, we see much of his donations go towards ActBlue and End Citizens United. But he is also a supporter of Chuck Schumer, a rabidly anti-2A senator from New York, and Senator Raphael Warnock in Georgia, who is also strongly anti-2A.

It seems to me that this paints a fairly clear picture.

KE Arms et al. are in a fight for survival. While many 2A causes deserve our support, supporting KE Arms also results in you getting some awesome monolithic polymer lowers. 

Use code DEFEND2A25 to save 25% on KP-15 or KP-9 receivers purchased through KEArms.com.

Blue Collar One Stamp KP-9 PCC (2)
RECOIL's Blue Collar One Stamp KP-9 PCC build

OUR REVIEWS OF KE ARMS KP-15 AND KP-9

I’ve been using a KP-15 polymer lower for a couple of years now, and I’ve loved it since day one. But I’m not alone at RECOIL; Dave Merrill and Iain Harrison both have reviews for you to check out:

SUPPORTING DOCUMENTATION

If you’d like to read everything from their source, here are all of the links I can provide.

Enter Your E-Mail to Receieve a Free 50-Target Pack from RECOIL!

NEXT STEP: Download Your Free Target Pack from RECOIL

For years, RECOIL magazine has treated its readers to a full-size (sometimes full color!) shooting target tucked into each big issue. Now we've compiled over 50 of our most popular targets into this one digital PDF download. From handgun drills to AR-15 practice, these 50+ targets have you covered. Print off as many as you like (ammo not included).

Get your pack of 50 Print-at-Home targets when you subscribe to the RECOIL email newsletter. We'll send you weekly updates on guns, gear, industry news, and special offers from leading manufacturers - your guide to the firearms lifestyle.

You want this. Trust Us.



Add a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to the Free
Newsletter