Companies are profiting by defying common-sense gun control law designed to limit carnage in mass shootings
SAN FRANCISCO (Feb. 9, 2017) — City Attorney Dennis Herrera today filed a lawsuit against five online gun equipment suppliers alleging they are blatantly violating California’s prohibition on selling large-capacity magazines — military-style ammunition holders that can allow shooters to fire dozens of bullets without reloading.
Large-capacity magazines make guns significantly more lethal and have been used in high-profile mass shootings across the country, including the 2016 Orlando nightclub massacre, which killed 49 people, and the 2015 San Bernardino attack, which killed 14. California has prohibited their sale, manufacture or import since Jan. 1, 2000 to limit the danger they pose to public safety. State law defines large-capacity magazines as those holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition.
The lawsuit Herrera filed Thursday in San Francisco Superior Court on behalf of the People of the State of California alleges that five online suppliers have been flouting both state and San Francisco law by selling complete but disassembled large-capacity magazines as “repair kits” to customers in California and San Francisco. These companies have flagrantly violated state and local laws and compromised the public safety interest the laws aim to protect.
“It takes a particular type of miscreant to compromise the safety of Californians simply for profit,” Herrera said. “The only purpose of these magazines is to kill as many people as quickly as possible. They have no place in our neighborhoods. That’s why the people of California have spoken loud and clear on this.”
After California’s 2000 statewide ban, a number of companies tried to skirt the law by selling so-called magazine “repair kits,” which in actuality were just disassembled, complete large-capacity magazines that purchasers could easily assemble. In 2013, Herrera sued four companies over the practice, and the state Legislature strengthened the existing law to specifically outlaw the sale or purchase of such “kits.” San Francisco took further action in 2014, enacting a ban on possessing large-capacity magazines, not just buying or selling them. Similarly, state voters in November overwhelmingly approved Prop. 63, which, among other safety steps, will outlaw the possession of large-capacity magazines statewide starting July 1, 2017, with very narrow exceptions.
The lawsuit Herrera filed Thursday contends that online retailers – Badger Mountain Supply, located in Washington state; 7.62 Precision in Alaska; Shooters Plus, located in Mississippi; LAK Supply of Wyoming; and Buymilsurp.com, located in Florida – are engaged in unfair or fraudulent business practices.
The lawsuit seeks $2,500 in civil penalties for each act of unlawful, unfair, and/or fraudulent competition; costs of the lawsuit; and a court order prohibiting the companies from marketing or selling large-capacity magazine repair kits or any type of disassembled magazines anywhere in California. It also seeks a court order requiring the defendants to state on their websites or any other marketing platform they use that it is illegal to buy “repair” or “rebuild” kits or any dissembled large-capacity magazine in California.
Currently, all of the companies falsely represent that California and San Francisco consumers may lawfully purchase disassembled large-capacity magazines as “repair kits.” 7.62 Precision, for example, markets a disassembled magazine as a “California Magazine Rebuild Kit,” saying “these parts kits are intended for California customers only.” Badger Mountain Supply falsely represents to customers on its website that it is complying with California law by shipping the items in two separate packages. Shooters Plus’ website references “ban States such as California” and instructs consumers to “simply click on the magazine/s you need, then click on the checkbox under each magazine that reads ‘Convert to Rebuild Kit.’” For example, a customer can purchase a 30-round magazine and convert it to a rebuild kit for $2.
Shootings involving large-capacity magazines — or assault weapons likely equipped with them — resulted in an average of 155 percent more people injured and 47 percent more people killed than in other mass shootings, according to any analysis by Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, an independent, non-partisan, nonprofit dedicated to understanding and reducing gun violence. Their analysis looked at 133 mass shootings in the United States over nearly seven years.
Large-capacity magazines were used in some of the most horrific mass shootings, including:
- the 2016 Orlando night club shooting, which killed 49 people;
- the 2015 San Bernardino attack, which killed 14 people;
- the 2015 Charleston church shooting, which killed nine people;
- the 2012 Aurora, Colorado shooting, which killed 12 people;
- the 2012 Newtown, Connecticut shooting, where 20 children at Sandy Hook Elementary School were killed alongside several of their teachers;
- the 2011 Tucson shooting, which killed 6 people and injured 13 people, including a member of the U.S. House of Representatives;
- the 2009 Fort Hood, Texas shooting, which killed 13 people and injured 34 people;
- the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting, which killed 32 people.
The case is: The People of the State of California v. Badger Mountain Supply, Inc., et al, San Francisco Superior Court, Case No. CGC 17-557010, filed Feb. 9, 2017. Complete documentation on the case is available on the City Attorney’s website at www.sfcityattorney.org