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Possible legal action may come against the top five producers of firearms used for illegal activities.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams, along with a coalition of mayors from cities across the U.S., plan to target gun manufacturers who supply the majority of guns used to commit crimes in their cities, they announced Wednesday following a summit at Gracie Mansion.
“We're going to use our leverage and buying power. We're going to use our bully pulpit, we're going to use our legislative arms to attack this problem head on to address the issues of gun violence,” Adams said at a press conference alongside more than a dozen other mayors who attended the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Summit. “Guns (are) a . . . consumer product. And that product is used for a particular task. The clear plan, the business model, is to get guns in the hands of as many people as possible. Guns have a purpose: to kill.”
As part of the effort, Everytown for Gun Safety released data on Wednesday that shows 10,000 guns used in crimes in 12 cities in 2021, more than 50%, were produced by five manufacturers: Glock, Taurus, Smith & Wesson, Ruger and Polymer80. The participating cities included three in New York: New York City, Mount Vernon and Buffalo.
Glocks were the top crime guns recovered in nine of the 12 cities, Everytown Senior Vice President for Law and Policy Nick Suplina said at Wednesday’s press conference, however Polymer80 was responsible for the largest increase–50%–in crime gun recoveries from 2020 to 2021. Polymer80 is the primary manufacturer of ghost guns in the U.S. Adams recently called on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives to revoke the license of Polymer80, which manufactured parts for 90% of the ghost guns recovered by the NYPD, according to officials.
The other manufacturers could also soon be subject to new legal action, possibly on the basis they have failed to follow federal regulations, including properly reporting sales, doing necessary background checks, and advertising to would-be criminals, officials said Wednesday. A lawsuit could potentially be brought as part of New York’s public nuisance law. The Legislature in 2021 passed legislation that allows the state to take legal action against gun manufacturers for conduct that constitutes a public nuisance.
Adams floated the possibility of holding manufacturers accountable for their failure to install technologies in firearms that could disable them when they are traced to criminal activity or sold illegally. Cities could also threaten to stop doing business with manufacturers who supply guns to police, the mayor said.
“Why are we prevented to allow technology to disable guns? Why are (manufacturers) standing in the way of that and why are they not moving forward to put that technology in place?” Adams asked. “This is not a movement to state responsible gun ownership should not happen. I own three guns. This is a movement dealing with illegal guns that are getting in the hands of those who are using them illegally.”
In addition, the mayors who participated in Wednesday’s summit announced plans to establish a coordinated database to track guns used in crimes.
“By having a centralized database of showing where did the shooting happen? Who purchased that gun? Where was the gun stolen from? How many other shootings was that gun involved in? And which cities or states was it involved in? This is a major, major new weapon that we are going to use in dealing with gun violence,” Adams said, adding that “this will allow us to bypass whatever restrictions there are on a federal level” related to national gun-tracing databases.