Cities To Sue Gun Dealers Linked To Illegal Weapons Traffic


Big cities again are preparing to take on Congress and the gun lobby, says the Christian Science Monitor. They are tired of their streets being flooded with guns bought somewhere else. In New York City, 85 percent of the guns used in crimes are bought legally in other states with far less stringent gun-control laws, most of them in the South. City leaders have signaled the start of a national movement to sue out-of-state gun dealers they consider “bad apples” – those who knowingly sell to so-called straw buyers and others who traffic in illegal guns. “Right now, about 1 percent of gun dealers account for almost 60 percent of guns used in crimes nationally,” says New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

In October, Congress gave dealers and manufacturers broad immunity unless they knowingly violate a law. New York contends the dealers it’s going after are aware that some of their buyers are fronts for traffickers. Urban leaders and gun control advocates argue that gun-tracing data can be made public in a way that protects ongoing investigations, and courts have so far sided with them. They also say that if a large number of illegal guns are traced to one dealer, the public has a right to know that and use the information in court. “The gun lobby would like people to believe guns just fall out of the sky into criminals’ hands, but we’ve learned the current distribution system allows gun manufacturers and dealers to divert large numbers of guns to illegal secondary markets,” says Dennis Henigan of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.


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