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USA: Kansas City files lawsuit against gunmaker, Jimenez Arms, over role in rising violent crimes

Author: Maine Public Radio, Published on: 13 January 2020

"Kansas City To Sue Gun Maker Over Rising Violent Crime Cases" 9 Jan 2020

Kansas City, Mo., has been experiencing near-record levels of violent crime. And officials there are pinning some of the blame on easy access to firearms. So they're dusting off an old legal tactic - suing the gun industry.

Police say guns were used in more than 90% of the city's 148 homicides last year. Another 500 people were injured in nonfatal shootings. Mayor Quinton Lucas says Missouri's lax gun laws have made it tough for local leaders to pass new gun control legislation. So Lucas says he's getting creative...

The city is suing gun manufacturer Jimenez Arms. Lucas hopes to hold the company responsible for some of the violence. Jimenez did not respond to a request for comment.

The lawsuit stems from a criminal case against James Samuels, a former Kansas City firefighter who is not a licensed gun dealer. Samuels, who was arrested in 2018, allegedly trafficked more than 75 handguns into the region and bought dozens of them directly from Jimenez. At least one of those guns was used in a murder. Many are still on the street...

Lawsuits against gun shops are pretty common, especially after mass shootings. This lawsuit goes a step further because it claims Samuels bought some of his guns directly from the maker - Jimenez Arms.

Cities used to file these lawsuits with some frequency. Throughout the 1980s and '90s, cities including Chicago, New Orleans and Philadelphia sued the gun industry. The litigation was rarely successful but proved costly to gun-makers and drove some of them out of business. Gun companies complained to lawmakers. And in 2005, Congress passed a law called PLCAA, the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. It shields gun-makers from many of those municipal lawsuits.

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