New Jersey is going after three firearms dealers under a public nuisance law the state passed last year that allows the government to file civil suits against gun shops.
One lawsuit claims that a business that was burglarized illegally stored guns so they could be seen from outside. The others claim that so-called ghost guns were being sold that were brought into New Jersey.
The lawsuits are based on a 2022 law that expanded the power of state government to go after gun dealers civilly, seeking monetary damages. The suits seek an injunction against the companies as well as unspecified monetary and punitive damages.
“We’re going to hold these folks accountable, but they won’t be the last,” state Attorney General Matt Platkin said Tuesday, according to the Associated Press.
“I think others in the industry should take notice that if you’re violating our laws, we’re going to come for you. We’re going to hold you accountable, too,” he said.
The lawsuits target FSS Armory, of Pine Brook, New Jersey; gun show operator Eagle Shows of Pennsylvania; and gun vendor JSD Supply of Pennsylvania.
State law requires firearms to be secured and not kept in any window or area visible from outside.
The suit, filed in state Superior Court in Morristown, accused store owner Ross Osias of “reckless” and “substandard storage and security practices,” according to Patch.
The store was targeted in a Jan. 20 burglary in which 20 weapons were taken. State investigators said FSS Armory stored rifles, handguns and gun boxes in an open area by a ground-floor window that was used to enter the shop during the burglary.
Although arrests were made in the burglary, some of the stolen guns have never been recovered.
The lawsuit said some of the guns that were recovered were found as far away as New York City.
The suit against Eagle Shows and JSD Supply claimed the Pennsylvania-based firms sold so-called ghost guns – guns with no serial number – to New Jersey residents, according to the AP.
Platkin said state police have arrested New Jersey residents who obtained illegal products at Eagle Shows.
Writing for Bearing Arms, a pro-Second Amendment website, Cam Edwards pushed back on the ghost gun claim.
“First of all, we’re not talking about completed firearms. If we were, then JSD Supply would be putting every buyer through a background check, as required by federal law. What the company is selling are incomplete frames and receivers that, when finished, are considered firearms under the Gun Control Act,” he wrote.
“New Jersey may have made possession of those items illegal, but if Eagle Shows and JSD Supply aren’t violating any laws then I don’t know why they would be held culpable for any New Jersey residents who purchased their products,” he wrote.
The lawsuits are the first time the state has tried to enforce the law passed in July 2022 that created a vehicle for civil court enforcement of state gun laws, according to the AP.
The law was challenged in November of 2022, but the challenge was dismissed in August because no attempt had been made to enforce the law, according to the Daily Caller.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation, which earlier sought to block the law from being enforced, has said it will sue again to block enforcement when the state acts, according to NJspotlightnews.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.