NYC Sues Virginia Gun Shops Again
“Dec 7th – 5:48pm
NEW YORK (AP) – The city is suing a dozen more out-of-state gun shops that it says are responsible for many of the illegal weapons that end up in New York City. Once again, the gun shops include several in Virginia.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Thursday that the court has appointed the former head of the Enron Task Force, Andrew Weissmann, to monitor some of the businesses that settled their suits. They are among the initial group of 15 shops targeted by the city several months ago.
As the basis for the legal action against the gun dealers, the city hired private investigators to conduct a sting operation at about 45 dealers in other states last spring. They focused on those shops because hundreds of guns have been traced back there from New York City killings, muggings and other crimes in recent years.
Wearing hidden cameras, the investigators attempted to simulate ‘straw purchases,’ where one person fills out the paperwork for the gun but is making the purchase for someone else. The scam is often used by those who cannot own firearms, like convicted felons.
For the sting, investigators entered stores in teams of two, usually a man and a woman. While the woman wandered the store and basically ignored the gun purchase, the man asked all the questions about the weapon, held it, pointed it and made it clear he was the interested buyer. When it came time to fill out paperwork, the woman stepped up.
It’s a scenario that should raise red flags with all dealers, who are trained to spot illegal straw purchases, the city said. Bloomberg said the majority of gun dealers refused the sale, but those who allegedly allowed it have been targeted in these suits.
“By doing so, they aid and abet dangerous criminals, and they are exactly the kind of dealers that need to be held accountable,” Bloomberg said.
The lawsuit filed Thursday asks the federal court to order supervision and extra training for the dealers, which are also in Georgia, Ohio, Pennsylvania and South Carolina. The Virginia stores are in Midlothian, Rocky Mount and Roanoke. “