New Jersey Filing Lawsuits Against Gun Dealers and Gun Show Companies
The NJ Attorney General Announced Multiple Lawsuits Filed Against the Gun Industry Since the Enactment of the State’s Firearms Public Nuisance Law.
The New Jersey Attorney General’s office recently filed two civil lawsuits, through its Statewide Affirmative Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) office, against a New Jersey gun dealer and two Pennsylvania gun providers, one a gun show provider and the other a vendor selling ghost guns (guns without serial numbers). The civil suits claim these companies violate New Jersey’s laws. To bring a lawsuit, SAFE relies on a 2022 public nuisance law enabling the state to sue gun industry members.
Allegations Against Gun Companies in the Latest Lawsuits
The first lawsuit in Morris County claims that the defendant gun dealer, FSS Armory, visibly stored guns near a ground-floor store window. In doing so, the public could see the unsecured firearms in plain sight, leading to a break-in and theft of 20 guns later used in crimes. State law requires gun dealers to lock their weapons up at night and not store them where the public can see from outside. The second case in Mercer County accuses Pennsylvania companies Eagle Shows and JSD Supplies of selling ghost guns, alleging the owner of both companies markets to New Jersey residents knowing that New Jerseyans cannot legally possess ghost guns. The lawsuits include demands for compensatory and punitive damages for past and future costs the companies cause the state and for injunctive relief.
The lawsuit against FSS Armory arose after the burglary and theft of 20 guns, some of which are still at large. Law enforcement retrieved some of the stolen firearms during criminal investigations and from those who bought or sold the guns on the black market. The lawsuit against Eagle Shows and JSD Supplies came about after the companies advertised on billboards and elsewhere for gun shows featuring ghost guns. New Jersey alleges these Pennsylvania companies took no actions to safeguard against New Jersey residents learning of and purchasing firearms that are illegal in New Jersey. Some arrests occurred after New Jerseyans purchased from these businesses.
Understanding the NJ Firearms Public Nuisance Law
The public nuisance law that supports the lawsuits became law last year to target gun industry members who unreasonably or negligently cause a public nuisance by the unsafe and illegal sale, manufacture, distribution, importation, or marketing of guns and gun-related products. New Jersey enacted the public nuisance statute, S1893, last year. It allows the Attorney General’s Office to sue gun industry participants who intentionally create a public nuisance by unreasonable or reckless behavior in selling, manufacturing, importing, or marketing firearms and firearm accessories and parts. The statute allows the Attorney General to file a lawsuit alleging the nuisance without proving a defendant’s intent to harm anyone or to show specific injuries. The law allows the state to investigate the defendants in certain circumstances and seek monetary damages, restitution, reasonable attorney fees, and other costs or appropriate relief.
New Jersey Taking on the Gun Industry in Light of Expansion of Firearms Rights at the Federal Level
Considering recent federal legislation and Supreme Court case law favoring the gun industry, New Jersey’s legislature and governor are passing new legislation that stands in direct contrast to what is happening at the federal level. The firearms public nuisance law is a prime example of New Jersey’s continuing harsh stance on guns. Attorney General Platkin’s pursuit of these public nuisance lawsuits demonstrates the state’s aggressive stance on guns. As Platkin recently stated, “If you break our laws, we’re coming after you.” No question, New Jersey means to hammer the gun industry for allegedly poor practices that endanger public wellbeing. Those in the firearms business targeted by the state face severe restrictions and monetary loss. And since the statute is civil, the state’s burden of proof is far less stringent than for criminal cases. The state needs to present convincing evidence but not convincing beyond a reasonable doubt to be successful.
If You Get Charged with a Firearms Offense, Call Us
With the state’s continued commitment to targeting people who allegedly violate NJ gun laws in civil and criminal court, the chances of someone being charged with a gun offense are perhaps higher than ever. As such, defendants in firearms cases need a savvy criminal defense lawyer to defend their rights, one who handles numerous gun cases all over the state and knows the strategies that can be used to beat weapons charges. In other words, your defense depends on the facts and circumstances, and you need the most confident, knowledgeable firearms lawyer to craft it.
At The Tormey Law Firm, our attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience in criminal justice as prosecutors and defense attorneys experienced in gun cases. In other words, we are fully equipped to protect your constitutional rights in criminal court. If you find yourself caught in the state’s crosshairs when it comes to guns, contact us at (201)-556-1570 to talk to a criminal defense attorney. Free consultations are available 24/7.