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Buffalo Sues Gunmakers For Oversupplying City With Weapons

The city of Buffalo sued a slew of gunmakers Tuesday, accusing them of oversupplying weapons and using marketing tactics that have fueled gun violence in the city. In May, the city was rattled after a white teenage gunman killed 10 people at a Tops supermarket in a predominantly Black neighborhood, Courthouse News reports. Among the defendants in Erie County Supreme Court are major gunmakers Smith & Wesson, Glock, Remington and Beretta, as well as several "ghost gun" manufacturers. Buffalo says these gun makers oversaturated the legitimate market with firearms, giving way to a secondary, underground trade. Buffalo says the manufacturers could have been targeting people who would use weapons to commit crimes, noting that the advertising for the weapons tends to emphasize high capacity and easy concealment.

"Gun manufacturer advertisements often combine the promise of an adrenaline rush with violent undertones," the suit says, citing the example of a Smith & Wesson ad captioned, "Kick Brass." Other ads compare real guns to the video game "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare." Buffalo accuses the manufacturers of keeping their supply lines open even after the distributors buying the guns were found to sell “disproportionately high volumes of guns traced to crime scenes." In contrast to manufacturers in other industries that are required to alert the public to risks of harm through the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the complaint says, the gunmakers failed to monitor injuries, deaths and crimes associated with their weapons. Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown called the lawsuit the first of its kind, because it is broader than a similar suit in New York City targeting ghost guns. Brown said that enforcing public nuisance claims can save lives.  “The conduct of certain gun manufacturers has unreasonably interfered with the public’s right to use open space free from fear,” Brown said in a statement.  The city cited growing concerns over gun violence, saying that as of March 2021, the number of people shot was 140 percent higher than the previous year. Each year in Buffalo roughly 800 to 950 guns are taken off the street, and the number of ghost gun removals is rising quickly. 


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