10.01.2008 0

New York City Suing Out-of-State Gun Dealers

  • On: 10/08/2008 12:54:31
  • In: 2nd Amendment
  • Does the Second Amendment, which guarantees the right of individuals to keep and bear firearms, by extension guarantee the right to sell guns?

    New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg apparently does not think so, and the city is suing 27 out-of-state gun shops that it says are responsible for a “disproportionate” amount of firearms being recovered from criminals.

    One of those gun shops, Adventure Outdoors based in Georgia, is being forced to defend itself in a U.S. District Court for allegedly breaking Federal law banning so-called “straw” sales – sales when a gun dealer sells to someone making a purchase on behalf of another. New York City had sent in undercover investigators into the Georgia shop to allegedly simulate one of these sales.

    For its part, the gun shop’s owner, Jay Wallace, does not believe he did anything wrong:

    “[He] says his store abides by Georgia and federal regulations and takes steps to avoid selling firearms to gun traffickers.”

    In addition, NYC’s attorneys have filed a motion with the judge overseeing the case to bar Mr. Wallace from arguing that the suit infringes upon his Second Amendment rights. Mr. Wallace’s lawyers certainly believe that those rights have been violated:

    “Of the city’s recent motion to preclude mention of the Second Amendment, a lawyer for Adventure Outdoors, John Renzulli, said, ‘If you can’t discuss the Bill of Rights in a court of law, where should we discuss these issues? Should we reserve it for the tavern?’

    “Mr. Renzulli said the city’s lawsuit did implicate the Second Amendment: ‘The politics involved here is whether the city has the power to go into another state and control the lawful sale of firearms.’”

    On that final count, it is abundantly clear that New York City has no power to send private investigators to another state to misleadingly entrap gun shop owners.

    This very situation has previously resulted in States rebelling against Mayor Bloomberg. In Virginia, a law was even passed to prohibit and make a felony the practice of out-of-state undercover investigators working on behalf of other governments operating inside of Virginia:

    “Virginia’s attorney general has warned Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg about a new law that will prevent the mayor from sending undercover private investigators to buy guns in Virginia… ‘While I understand that you are attempting to take steps that you believe may enhance the public safety of the citizens of New York City, such laws are Virginia’s duty to enforce,’ Bob McDonnell, the attorney general, wrote in a letter to Mr. Bloomberg last month apprising him of the law, which goes into effect July 1…

    “The new Virginia law makes undercover gun purchases by nonlaw-enforcement entities a felony. Mr. McDonnell said the law ‘strikes the proper balance between ensuring effective law enforcement and protecting the rights of law-abiding firearms dealers’ and the Second Amendment rights of Virginians.

    “‘Law-abiding Virginia gun dealers certainly do not deserve to be targeted by private agents intentionally misleading them as to their intentions and motives,’ said Tucker Martin, a spokesman for Mr. McDonnell’s office. ‘This is a courtesy to the mayor. Prior actions of his are now felony offenses in the commonwealth, and he knows this.’”

    ALG News would like to send the following message to Mayor Bloomberg: We know you think it matters, but you are not King of the World. New York City is not the center of the universe. And it is not up to you or New York City to control how guns are sold in Georgia, Virginia, or anywhere else. Tell your undercover agents to get the heck out of these States, and to never return.

    And as to the States where these undercover New York agents are running around, we have a suggestion: Arrest these “agents” for restraint of trade, prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law, and hit them with significant jail time. They will never come back.

    New York City, and no other locality, has the power to travel outside its jurisdiction and violate gun dealers’ rights to sell arms. Take note, Mr. Bloomberg: You are not a Federal monarch.

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