An attorney for the federal government is asking a judge to throw out a series of lawsuits brought by the survivors of the Emanuel AME shooting victims.

Stephen R. Terrell, an attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice, filed motions Friday asking a judge to dismiss the lawsuits on grounds that the court lacks the proper jurisdiction to hear the cases, and that the plaintiffs failed to fully outline their claims.

Relatives of the nine Emanuel AME Church shooting victims filed a series of wrongful death lawsuits alleging that clerical errors allowed Dylann Roof to buy the gun he used during last year’s shooting.

The complaints allege Roof should have been prevented from buying a gun because he previously admitted to using an illegal drug, but authorities botched a federally-mandated background check.

After the three-day window for the check closed in April 2015, a West Columbia gun store owner sold Roof a .45-caliber Glock authorities say he used in the mass shooting two months later.

Family members of the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, Cynthia Hurd, Tywanza Sanders, Myra Thompson, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lance, Daniel Simmons Sr. and Sharonda Coleman-Singleton filed lawsuits June 30. The shooting’s five survivors, including Polly Sheppard and Felicia Sanders, filed similar claims on June 30.

Bethane Middleton-Brown, sister of the Rev. DePayne Middleton Doctor, filed her own complaint in August, joining the lawsuits.

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Gregory Yee covers breaking news and public safety. He's a native Angeleno and previously covered crime and courts for the Press-Telegram in Long Beach, CA. He studied journalism and Spanish literature at the University of California, Irvine.

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