Kansas City mayor Quinton Lucas announced the city has filed a public nuisance lawsuit targeting the gun industry in Kansas City.
The city is being represented by attorneys from Everytown Law. The suit alleges that the defendants in the case have created a public nuisance in the city by contributing to a violent crime epidemic.
The suit is in connection to a five-year trafficking ring. Former Kansas City firefighter James Samuels allegedly orchestrated the ring.
The City is asking for reimbursement for the costs of violent crime connected to the trafficking ring, as well as an order requiring the defendants to recover firearms that are still in circulation.
According to a press release from Everytown Law the suit targets Jimenez Arms, Inc., a Nevada gun manufacturer. It also targets multiple current or former Kansas City-area licensed firearms dealers, an alleged gun trafficker and an alleged straw purchaser over the trafficking of handguns into the Kansas City area.
The defendants are accused of distributing Jimenez arms. Which, according to a press release have been frequently and disproportionately recovered at crime scenes in the Kansas City region.
The lawsuit alleges that Jimenez Arms sent firearms to Samuels knowing that he was distributing them illegally. In some cases, the gun manufacturer allegedly sent guns to Samuels’ house, without requiring a background check.
Gun-dealer defendants are also named for allegedly aiding and abetting the trafficking ring by transferring dozens of guns to and from Samuels. These transfers sometimes occurred through obvious straw purchases.
The lawsuit also names as defendants Herb William Butzbach III, doing business as Mission Ready Gunworks. It also names gun dealer Suzette Nelson, previously doing business as Conceal & Carry, CR Sales Firearms LLC, James Samuels and Iesha Boles.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Missouri has charged Samuels with 14 counts related to his trafficking in firearms. He has pled not guilty.
In 2019, 95 percent of the cities homicides involved a firearm. Kansas City is the first city to file a lawsuit against the gun industry in over ten years.
Everytown Law is the litigation arm of Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund. The fund advocates for gun safety in the courts and through the criminal and civil justice systems.
By Rachel Behrndt | KOMU 8