A gun-control advocacy group founded by Democratic presidential hopeful Michael Bloomberg is helping Kansas City, Mo., with lawsuits accusing a gun manufacturer and local dealers of failing to live up to their legal responsibilities to curb weapons-trafficking.
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"We will be the first city to file a lawsuit against the gun industry in more than 10 years," Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas said at a press conference on Tuesday. "Gun trafficking, illegal gun trafficking, has created a public nuisance ... that has led to deaths in our community."
Everytown Law, a division of Everytown for Gun Safety, is assisting the city with its suit against Nevada-based Jimenez Arms. The group also represents the parents of Alvino Dwight Crawford, who are suing Jimenez Arms over allegations that their son was shot to death in 2016 with an illegally-trafficked Jimenez gun.
The city's suit claims Jiminez, a Nevada-based maker of affordable guns, sent dozens of wholesale-priced weapons to James Samuels, a Kansas City firefighter who is facing charges for violating federal gun laws, according to The Wall Street Journal. Samuels is being held at the Leavenworth Detention Center pending trial on federal firearms charges including dealing without a license, according to the Journal.
"Samuels is alleged to have trafficked at least 77 guns into the Kansas City area," Alla Lefkowitz of Everytown Law said at Tuesday's briefing. "However, a gun trafficker cannot accomplish his work alone. He needs suppliers, and he needs straw buyers. He needs companies willing to look the other way."
Samuels has pleaded not guilty to all charges and denies any wrongdoing in the sale of firearms, his lawyer, John Picerno, told FOX Business.
The Kansas City case alleges the gun company defendants knowingly broke laws intended to curb illegal ownership of firearms "and disregarded their professional obligations," she continued. Two of the defendants, Herb Butzbach of Mission Ready Gunworks and Charles Rice of CR Sales and Firearms, said they were not aware of the suit when contacted by The Journal.
Mission Ready Gunworks declined to comment to FOX Business, and CR Sales and Firearms did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Bloomberg has funneled tens of millions of dollars into Everytown for Gun Safety, which he founded in 2013 by merging Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.
FOX Business' inquiry to Jimenez Arms was not immediately returned.
This post has been updated with response from Picerno.