Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown
Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown (Shutterstock)
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Yesterday, the city of Buffalo, New York filed a lawsuit against a raft of firearms manufacturers claiming they present a threat to public health in the city. From MSN . . .

The suit filed in the Erie County branch of New York’s Supreme Court alleges firearm companies like Smith and Wesson, Beretta, Remington, Glock, and Bushmaster as well as what the lawsuit terms “ghost gun companies,” including Arm or Ally and Polymer80, contributed to a condition “that endangers the safety and health of the public” of the city.

“Members of our community have suffered too much and for too long from gun violence,” Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown said at a news conference Tuesday. “We must do everything we can to decrease gun violence. Enabling the possession of illegal guns destroys lives and deeply affects our neighborhoods, especially in Black and Brown communities.”

The suit includes far more companies than those named above, basically naming every major gun maker in America along with a group of 80 percent frame makers, parts companies and distributors. For the full list, see the complaint here.

The lawsuit is the latest attempt to try to get around the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act by claiming the companies’ lawful sales of firearms and parts present a “public nuisance.” New York amended its nuisance law last year specifically for the purpose of trying to make it easier pierce the protections provided by the PLCAA. The National Shooting Sports Foundation has filed a lawsuit of its own challenging the New York nuisance statute.

The named respondents in the Buffalo suit allegedly violate nuisance laws through . . .

a) marketing that emphasizes firearm characteristics such as their high capacity and ease of concealment, which appeals to prospective purchasers with criminal intent, including but not limited to through advertisement, product placement in movies and social media; b) purposely supplying more firearms than the legitimate market can bear in order to induce sales in the secondary market; c) not training dealers to avoid straw sales and other illegal transactions; and d) refusing to terminate contracts with distributors who sell to dealers with disproportionately high volumes of guns traced to crime scenes.

As you might imagine, the NSSF, the trade association for the gun industry, had a few things to say about the lawsuit. Here’s their press release . . .

NSSF®, The Firearm Industry Trade Association, rejects the false premise of the lawsuit brought by the City of Buffalo against several firearm manufacturers, distributors and retailers. The accusations are without any legal merit and are an obvious attempt by city officials to deflect attention and shift responsibility for their failure to enforce the law against criminals by casting blame on a Constitutionally-protected and most highly-regulated industry in the nation today.

“The junk lawsuit by the City of Buffalo attempts to deflect attention for illegal activities by criminals by laying blame at the feet of the firearm industry, which is following the law,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel. “This is no different from the frivolous and unsuccessful lawsuits filed against firearm manufacturers in the late 1990s and early 2000s by crime-ridden big-city mayors across the country. Those lawsuits failed because they were legally and factually baseless. But they did, however, result in Congress passing the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act in 2005 by a broad bipartisan margin.”

The recently passed New York public nuisance law, upon which Buffalo’s lawsuit is based, is a transparent and unconstitutional attempt to defy the will of Congress. A lawsuit challenging the Constitutionality of the New York public nuisance law is now before a federal appellate court in Manhattan.

New York’s “public nuisance” law would subject members of the firearm industry to civil lawsuits for the criminal misuse or unlawful possession of firearms in New York that were lawfully sold after a criminal background check, that the industry supports. This was the same failed tactic ushered in by New York’s disgraced former Gov. Andrew Cuomo when he served as Housing and Urban Development Secretary in the Clinton administration and attempted to use these lawsuits to impose on the firearm industry a “death by a thousand cuts.” The public nuisance law was signed by the former governor shortly before he was driven from office.

This lawsuit also ignores that NSSF, The Firearm Industry Trade Association representing firearm manufacturers, distributors and retailers, proactively works hand-in-hand with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to prevent illegal “straw” purchases of firearms and firearm thefts from retailers. That is just one of the multiple firearm safety efforts the firearm industry’s Real Solutions. Safer Communities® campaign, which also includes safe storage of firearms in the home, suicide prevention and improving background checks for lawful firearm purchases.

New York’s law and this lawsuit distort principles of liability clearly established as bedrock principles of Tort Law. The bipartisan 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), which has been upheld as Constitutional by U.S. Courts of Appeal, specifically forbids these lawsuits.

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20 COMMENTS

  1. Typical Leftist tactic. They file meaningless superficial frivolous lawsuits to cost gun manufacturers millions to make their business less profitable. The City of Buffalo should be sanctioned for this.

  2. ““We must do everything we can to decrease gun violence. Enabling the possession of illegal guns destroys lives and deeply affects our neighborhoods, especially in Black and Brown communities”

    Pandering lying bitch….

    • “Enabling the possession of illegal guns”

      That part in its self is one of the many false hoods in this lawsuit. And that aside from the obvious flawed logic because the companies they are suing don’t make or sell or supply “illegal guns” nor do they enable the “possession of illegal guns”.

      “Enabling the possession of illegal guns destroys lives and deeply affects our neighborhoods, especially in Black and Brown communities” < hmmm… well, for real murder and not this implied by the way they throw around the term 'homicide' …. according to the FBI UCR 80% – 85% of firearm homicides are criminals shooting other criminals, police shooting criminals, or ordinary law abiding people shooting criminals in valid legal defense – over 50% of those are ordinary law abiding people shooting criminals in valid legal defense which is not murder by rather is ‘justifiable homicide’ which is also known as self/home/other-defense. And considering that 94% of black murder victims are murdered by blacks …. their problem isn't guns but rather its the criminals they don't do anything about.

      If they would do something about their criminals they could lower the 'homicide' rate substantially because then the law abiding people would not be having to shoot their criminals who are basically allowed to roam free among their prey because Buffalo does nothing substantial about them. Its those criminals that are deeply affecting their "neighborhoods, especially in Black and Brown communities” and causing the violence. This is not something a legal firearm company can fix for them and a law suit against these legal companies supplying their product legally will not fix it either even if they did win a lawsuit against these legal companies.

    • Perhaps the complete break down of family and family values in those communities should be investigated. But, of course, that would be labeled racist.

  3. On display again in America is the kind of thinking behind slavery, segregation, Jim Crow, the kkk, lynching, Eugenics, Gun Control and other race based atrocities.

    Gun Owners and Gun Manufacturers are being singled out and not far away from boarding freezing trains destined for concentration camps, slave labor, gas chambers, etc. Think not? Think again.

  4. The process is the punishment. These extremist activists masquerading as politicians have been abusing their offices for years with impunity.

    I wish some smart league beagle was able to come up with a way to go after these petty tyrants for: 1) depriving citizens of their rights under color of law and, 2) bringing malicious law suits, and abuse of process.

  5. Maybe the liberals in these crime ridden cities should control their black & brown population too actually decrease the crimes committed in such cities & leave the actual tax payers alone.
    Dirtbags.

    • It is not skin color it is the democCrap between their ears. If it was skin color there would not be lily white useful idiots infected with the same demoCrap.

      Unfortunately placid RINOs fearful of the media have allowed their democRat “colleagues” to take the racist party sign off their necks and hang it around the neck of The Party of Lincoln. And gun owning bigots with their buttspew on this forum and elsewhere have provided democRats with a big helping hand.

      Based on the centuries of race based atrocities attributed to the democRat Party a Black American belonging to the democRat Party makes as much sense as a Jew belonging to the nazi party.

      To reach that level of stupidity obviously the problem is the demoCrap between their ears.

  6. Lever guns are oddly not on their “evil guns” list. Sounds like they haven’t looked at History & Tradition, or watched any Rifleman episodes. 😉

  7. So Rochester leads the state ( or is very close ) in per capita murders, and out paces Chicago in per capita shootings. Why ? NYS legalized pot, but has yet to issue licenses to any business to sell it , the results increased demand, that can only be filled by street dealers .

    It’s controlled here by the Blood and Crips who are at war with each other . The PD is short staffed and demoralized, so yes suing the gun manufacturers will surly fix things ….

  8. Firearm manufacturers and distributors should REFUSE to sell firearms to Buffalo and other cities or states a enact these stupid laws. Let them scramble to obtain firearms for their police. Then see how crime really escalates. Make them beg for firearms and only sell to them under the condition that such insane laws be revoked.

    • it’s a New York state statute being utilized so a complete abstention of “law enforcement” sales to New York state is in order. Those “law enforcement” firearms returned for service should be placed into the “we’ll get to it someday” bin.

  9. PLCAA will protect most companies, although they may need to wait for a couple appeals for justice to be served, and Buffalo can’t easily declare bankruptcy to avoid attorney’s fees, and there will be a lot of fees with every company named having their own legal team. The settlement by bankrupt Remington’s insurance company may lead them into quicksand, and they’ll have to explain to their constituents why they thought it was a good idea to give millions to gun companies. The 80% companies may be another story. If the courts rule that they aren’t guns or gun parts, then they wouldn’t be covered by PLCAA. The current BATFE rules on PMF that treat then as firearms would give them PLCAA cover, possibly even if it were overturned.

  10. it’s a New York state statute being utilized so a complete abstention of “law enforcement” sales to New York state is in order. Those “law enforcement” firearms returned for service should be placed into the “we’ll get to it someday” bin.

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