Rochester, N.Y. — Rochester City Mayor Malik Evans announced on Dec. 20 that the city was filing a lawsuit in State Court against several members of the firearms industry, which he claims is fueling a gun violence crisis in the city.
The suit seeks to hold manufacturers, makers, importers, and distributors of firearms responsible for the illegal and unreasonable sale, manufacture, distribution, importing, and marketing of firearms. The city seeks compensatory and punitive damages, the creation of an abatement fund, and reimbursement of attorneys’ fees.
Evans was joined by Corporation Counsel Linda S. Kingsley and attorneys from Napoli Shkolnik PLLC to announce the city is filing a lawsuit in State Court against firearm industry members for their alleged role in fueling the gun violence crisis in the City of Rochester.
The defendants include Beretta, Smith & Wesson, Glock, Remington and Bushmaster, and what Evans terms as ghost gun companies like Polymer 80 and others, which he says have manufactured or distributed thousands of firearms recovered in crimes committed in the city and across New York State.
A press release issued by Evans said gun violence in Rochester has surged over the past two years and listed possible causes as economic stress linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, national civil unrest, and the increased availability of illegal firearms.
“Addressing gun violence is a top priority of my administration, and I want to tackle this issue on every front,” Evans said.
In a similar move, several news agencies reported that Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown also announced a lawsuit against some members of the firearm industry including Glock, Beretta, Remington and Smith & Wesson. Brown also claims crime in his city is a result of firearms availability and also retained Napoli Shkolnik PLLC as counsel.
“Going grocery shopping, walking home from school… these mundane activities should not result in gun violence incidents,” said partner Salvatore C. Badala of Napoli Shkolnik.
A New York State law signed in 2021 (A.6762B/S.7196) allows for “public nuisance” civil lawsuits to be brought against gun manufacturers and dealers, bypassing the blanket immunity provided to the industry under federal law.