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The city of Buffalo, including Mayor Byron W. Brown and the Corporation Counsel Cavette A. Chambers, recently filed a lawsuit against gunmakers.
Announced last Tuesday by Mayor Brown himself, the lawsuit points to gun companies, such as Bertta, Bushmaster, Glock and Smith & Wesson, as one of the main sources of violence because of their irresponsible sales criteria and process.
While the lawsuit doesn’t mention restricting the usage of firearms, the city said that its intent is to hold gunmakers accountable for the role they play in gun violence, including the manufacturing, importing and selling of the firearms. According to the city, more than thousands of firearm weapons have been the source of crimes committed across the whole city.
In a report released by the city’s open data portal, PENDATA Buffalo, and conducted by the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program, the number of homicides in Buffalo skyrocketed during a two-year period from 2019 to 2021, increasing from 44 homicides to 67. While the number of homicides are on the decline, the city has only reported a slight decrease, recording 62 homicides from the previous year’s 65 homicides.
“Members of our community have suffered too much and for too long from gun violence,” said Mayor Brown in a public statement upon the lawsuit’s announcement. “Enabling the possession of illegal guns destroys lives and deeply affects our neighborhoods, especially in Black and Brown communities.”
“I am proud to stand up to the gun industry and fight for the safety of people living, working, and visiting the City of Buffalo,” he added.
According to Reuters, the city of Buffalo’s newest lawsuit marks the first lawsuit filed by a city against big gun companies after the passage of a 2021 law. According to the recently passed law, legal action can be taken against gun manufacturers if there’s a case of them creating a “public nuisance” through their methods of selling firearms.
The lawsuit comes less than a year after and is a response to a mass shooting in the city of Buffalo that led to the loss of ten lives. The racially-motivated shooting, which targeted members of the Black community, occurred at a Tops market on the east side of the city. According to the police department, the shooter, 18-year-old Payton Gendron, legally purchased a rifle and modified it to feature an illegal ammunition magazine.
Since his arrest, Gendron has pleaded guilty to 15 charges, such as domestic terrorism, and will be sentenced in February. If convicted of all charges, he’s expected to receive a life sentence without parole.