With virtually unlimited taxpayer funds at his disposal, New York Mayor Bloomberg claimed victory over Adventure Outdoors, a small gun dealer in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia, which could not afford a month long trial whose fairness was far from assured.
This case began in 2006, when New York City sued 26 guns stores across the country, claiming that criminals purchased guns from these stores and then used them in crimes in New York City. New York claimed that this created a public nuisance. So far, 2 of the lawsuits have been thrown out of court, 2 gun stores have gone out of business, 20 gun dealers have settled, and 2 are set for trial this fall. These results should not be surprising, since few privately owned businesses can afford litigation against the largest city in the country, with its virtually unlimited amounts of taxpayer money to spend.
The owner of Adventure Outdoors, Jay Wallace, did not have the (at least) hundreds of thousands dollars it would take to defend himself at a trial that was predicted to last 4 weeks. Instead of going to trial, he now has to allow a court appointed Special Master to supervise gun sales in his store, along with other settlement terms that New York will effectively dictate. Mr. Wallace will, however, appeal. Hopefully the appellate court will understand personal responsibility, and recognize that the crime in New York is the result of the criminals in that city, rather than a law abiding gun dealer in Georgia.
This strikes me as unjust, and I think a few analogies will better explain the injustice of this situation. Holding this gun dealer responsible for the actions of criminals is akin to holding Ford or General Motors responsible for drunk/reckless driving. Or holding Home Depot liable for criminals who use their crowbars and hammers to commit crimes. In each case, the seller of the item is engaged in a lawful business. In each case, the seller has no right or ability to monitor the use of the item. In each case, it is the intentional action of a human being that causes the harm, not the inanimate object.
I sincerely hope the appellate court reverses this miscarriage of justice.
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