Attorney General sues gun accessory manufacturer for role in Buffalo massacre

May 12, 2023 Rob Abruzzese
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In a striking move against gun violence, New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit today against Georgia-based gun accessory manufacturer MEAN LLC, also known as Mean Arms.

The company is accused of enabling the illegal possession of assault weapons in New York, including the weapon used in the horrific mass shooting in Buffalo in May 2022. This marks a significant step in holding gun accessory manufacturers accountable for their role in escalating gun violence.

New York law prohibits the possession of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition. Mean Arms manufactures and distributes a magazine lock, known as the MA Lock, which allows such magazines to be easily attached to a semiautomatic rifle.

The shooter responsible for the Buffalo massacre bought a used AR-15 rifle equipped with an MA Lock in January 2022. By his own admission, he easily removed the lock at home, replacing it with a 30-round magazine. The shooting spree that followed claimed 10 lives and left three others injured.

“Mean Arms sells the MA Lock device knowing that it can be easily removed to make guns more dangerous, and even gives directions on how to take this action,” said Attorney General James. “We cannot undo the devastating harm that was done, but this lawsuit against Mean Arms is part of our ongoing effort to pursue justice for the ten innocent lives that were unjustly taken.”

Attorney General James is seeking to halt Mean Arms’ business operations in New York and require the company to pay restitution, damages, and civil penalties for its alleged illegal practices. The lawsuit claims that the company falsely advertised that installing an MA Lock on a weapon makes it legal in New York, thereby enabling the illegal possession of assault weapons.

The lawsuit also underlines that the company provides detailed instructions on its product packaging on how to easily remove the lock, contrary to New York’s gun laws.

The Buffalo shooter managed to remove the MA Lock from his weapon within a few minutes, following the instructions provided by Mean Arms. His subsequent attack was made more deadly by the use of high-capacity magazines which enabled him to continue firing without frequent pauses to reload.

Attorney General James, in collaboration with Everytown for Gun Safety, seeks to hold Mean Arms accountable for its alleged role in the Buffalo massacre. The lawsuit is a significant step towards civil legal accountability for the tragic event, and highlights the role of gun accessory manufacturers in circumventing laws meant to protect public safety.

In response to the lawsuit, Eric Tirschwell, Executive Director of Everytown Law, commented, “Assault weapons have no place in our communities, and when reckless actors in the gun industry put profits over public safety and sell products that facilitate the circumvention of laws that keep New Yorkers safe, they must be held to account.”

The lawsuit against Mean Arms continues Attorney General James’ efforts to protect New Yorkers from gun violence and enforce New York’s responsible gun safety laws. This includes a landmark lawsuit filed in June 2022 against 10 national gun distributors for illegally bringing ghost gun kits into New York, and efforts in March to stop these gun distributors from selling and shipping ghost gun kits into the state.

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