SW Legal studies in Business

Court Appoints Special Master to Restrict Improper Gun Sales That Are a Public Nuisance
Description

Federal judge granted a request by the City of New York that a permanent injunction be issued against out-of-state gun dealers who sold guns to people in the city who could not possess them legally. A special master would be appointed to help ensure compliance of the order by the dealers.

Topic Torts
Key Words

Public Nuisance; Firearms; Dealers; Injunction

C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts

The City of New York filed a complaint against 15 out-of-state firearms dealers seeking a declaration that they are a public nuisance for sales practices that allow New York City residents to evade city restrictions on firearms. The dealers were involved in “straw purchases” by which a legal buyer of a firearm immediately transfers possession of the firearm to a person prohibited by law from possessing firearms. The New York legislature has declared that illegally possessed handguns are a public nuisance that contributes to violent crime. Guns sold by some dealers were traced to specific crimes in the city. City investigators made straw purchases of guns from the dealers. The city moved for an injunction against the dealers making such sales.

Decision

Motion granted. Entry of a permanent injunction against the dealers is warranted. The dealers are a public nuisance for their sales practices. A special master will be appointed by the court for at least five years to monitor compliance by the dealers and to train the dealers to ensure that they are in compliance with relevant firearms laws. Defendants will pay the costs incurred by the special master and, should any one sell a firearm in violation of the law, there will be a fine of $10,000 for the first violation, $15,000 for the second violation, and so on. The injunction is appropriate relief to attempt to deal with the problem.

Citation

City of New York v. Adventure Outdoors, ---F.Supp.2d--- (2009 WL 789618, E.D., NY, 2009)

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