Three gun dealers sued by New Jersey attorney general, who says they violated state law #gun #dealers #sued #Jersey #attorney #general #violated #state #law

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey’s attorney general sued three firearms dealers Tuesday, alleging one illegally stored firearms that were visible from outside a store and that the two others tried to sell “ghost guns.” The suits mark the first complaints filed under a 2022 law passed last year.

Attorney General Matt Platkin said he filed the lawsuits in state court to send a message to firearms dealers that run afoul of state law.

“We’re going to hold these folks accountable, but they won’t be the last,” Platkin said during a news conference held with state firearms enforcement director Ravi Ramanathan. “I think others in the industry should take notice that if you’re violating our laws, we’re going to come for you. We’re going to hold you accountable, too.”

The suits seek unspecified monetary and punitive damages as well as an injunction against the companies: FSS Armory, of Pine Brook, New Jersey; gun show operator Eagle Shows of western Pennsylvania; and gun vendor JSD Supply, also of western Pennsylvania. The Associated Press left email messages seeking comment with the companies.

One of the suits alleges that FSS Armory stored stacks of guns near a window on the ground floor of its shop, an arrangement that was visible online. In January, a group of people traveled to the store, broke the window and made off with more than 20 weapons, including pistols, shotguns, rifles and a revolver, Platkin said. Most of the stolen guns haven’t been recovered, and those that have been were found at crime scenes or on the black market, he said.

State law requires firearms to be secured and not kept in any window or area visible from outside.

The other suit, against Eagle Shows and JSD Supply, alleges the companies aimed to sell so-called ghost guns, which are illegal in the state, to New Jersey residents. Ghost guns are weapons without serial numbers that cannot be traced.

JSD Supply sold ghost gun products at Eagle Shows across the New Jersey-Pennsylvania border, while Eagle Shows continues to directly advertise their shows in New Jersey, according to the suit. It’s unclear how many such guns were sold to New Jersey residents, but state police have arrested numerous residents returning from out-of-state Eagle Shows with illegal products, Platkin said.

The lawsuits were the first brought by the state under a bill Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy signed in July 2022 aimed at holding gun dealers accountable in civil court. Asked why he didn’t bring criminal complaints against the companies, Platkin would only say that civil cases also play a role in upholding the law.

New Jersey isn’t the only state going after gun dealers in civil court.

In October 2022, Minnesota filed suit against a gun retailer, alleging it sold firearms to straw purchasers that ended up being used in a fatal shooting. Earlier this year, Kansas City settled with a dealer it alleged ignored evidence that guns were being sold illegally.


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