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There's Going to be a Showdown

The trial has now started in the city of New York's public nuisance suit against a Smyrna, Ga., gun dealer, Jay Wallace, sued for illegally selling guns later used in crimes in the city. Last week federal Judge Jack Weinstein refused to let Mayor Michael Bloomberg testify, saying it would create a media circus. Wallace and his store, Adventure Outdoors, were among the 27 targets sued by the city last year; all but three have settled.

Wallace is defiant in the face of Bloomberg's litigation, as this good Atlanta Journal-Constitution profile reports:

New York is not asking for damages. Rather, it wants to oversee gun sales records via a court-appointed monitor, at New York's expense, for the next three years.

"The city has unlimited wealth, and they know individuals can't afford [to fight]," Wallace said, adding he is "standing up for the customers and the other poor gun dealers" by fighting the suit.

Wallace said "straw purchasers" New York sent to his Smyrna business simply found a way to entrap him and his business in a publicity stunt to draw attention to Bloomberg, should he run for another elected office.

A court appointed monitor for a specific group of businesses? What a great model to apply throughout the private sector.

The gun dealer has a website devoted to his legal and political case, with daily updates of his trial: Bloombergfightbackfund.com. A good window on the proceedings.

Bloomberg used the public nuisance suits to kick off the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition, which has a website here. The selection of stories in its news roundup certainly demonstrates a political movement at work.

The NRA covers the anti-Bloomberg efforts here, part of its category, "Reckless Lawsuits."

The case is The City of New York v. Adventure Outdoors Inc., Eastern District of New York, 06cv02233. The complaint is available here via the City of New York's website, which takes you to Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.