Bloomberg Files Second Round of Gun Lawsuits
In a move that might serve to cut the number of illegal guns that permeate some of the city housing projects in Rockaway, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, joined by Corporation Counsel Michael A. Cardozo, Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly and Criminal Justice Coordinator John Feinblatt, has announced that New York City has filed a second lawsuit in the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of New York against 12 additional gun dealers identified as selling firearms in violation of federal law.
This lawsuit is similar in scope to the suit filed in May against 15 gun dealers and also seeks injunctive relief intended to halt the dealers' illegal practices. Of the original 15 gun dealers, six have reached settlement agreements with the City - the most recent settlement having been reached last night - and three of those dealers have had a Special Master appointed by the federal court to oversee their sales practices.
The 12 gun dealers named in the recent lawsuit - located in Georgia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia - were targeted because of the number of guns that have been traced back to them following crimes committed in New York City. More than 300 crime guns recovered by the New York City Police Department (NYPD) have been traced to these 12 gun dealers between January 1994 and 2002. Mayor Bloomberg today also announced the launch of a subway ad campaign that warns about the increase in the mandatory minimum sentence for illegal possession of a loaded handgun to 3 1/2 years. Backed by Mayor Bloomberg, this legislation passed the State Legislature in June and was signed into law by Governor Pataki in October.
"Illegal guns don't belong on our streets and we're sending that message loud and clear," said Mayor Bloomberg. "We're determined to see that gun dealers who break the law are held accountable, and that criminals who carry illegal loaded guns serve serious time behind bars. It's just that simple. By and large, most gun dealers respect and follow the law, but for those who don't, this is a wake up call. I invite these 12 dealers to become part of the solution by joining the six dealers who have already reached settlements with the City. And the new public service announcements are a wake-up call to anyone who might consider carrying a loaded illegal gun. The price is too high - and we want to be sure that everyone knows it."
"This second lawsuit sends a strong message to gun dealers - that we won't stand by and allow illegal guns to flood New York City," said Corporation Counsel Cardozo.
All 12 dealers named in the suit sold a gun to a team of undercover investigators, who wore hidden cameras during their sting operations. Even in the face of obvious "red lights" that should have immediately ended the discussion between dealer and customer, including that the straw purchaser did not participate in the transaction until the time came to fill out the federal forms and did not pay for the gun.