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Kansas City and Everytown Law File First Municipal Lawsuit in Over Ten Years Against Gun Manufacturer, Dealers, and Traffickers Whose Conduct Helped Foster a Gun Violence Epidemic in the City

City of Kansas City, Missouri v. Jimenez Arms, Inc., et al.


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Kansas City, MO – Everytown Law represented the City of Kansas City, Missouri in a lawsuit against Jimenez Arms, a Nevada gun manufacturer, as well as multiple current or former Kansas City-area licensed firearms dealers over their alleged facilitation of a gun trafficking ring that funneled illegal handguns into the Kansas City area. The case, and its related litigation, ultimately led the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF) to issue a notice of license revocation to the successor company of Jimenez Arms. One local firearms dealer agreed to implement a set of written policies designed to prevent the facilitation of gun trafficking and straw purchasing, as well as to make a monetary payment to the City. A second local dealer agreed to surrender his federal firearms dealer.

The lawsuit alleged that the gun trafficking ring, and the gun companies that facilitated it, had created a public nuisance by contributing to violent crime in Kansas City. Over the past several years, Kansas City has experienced one of the highest homicide-per-capita rates in the United States, and 95% of these homicides involve firearms. Kansas City was the first U.S. city to file a lawsuit against members of the gun industry in more than 10 years. This is largely due to the existence of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), a federal law passed in 2005 that gave the gun industry immunity from many civil lawsuits. However, Kansas City alleged that each of the defendants in the case had knowingly violated gun laws which caused harm to the city and its residents. These allegations meant that neither PLCAA, nor Missouri’s gun industry immunity law, applied to the case. 

The lawsuit alleged that a trafficking ring run by James Samuels, and facilitated by the remaining defendants, was responsible for trafficking 77 firearms from 2013-2018. In 2021, Mr. Samuels was sentenced to six years in federal prison. Most of the firearms trafficked by Mr. Samuels were manufactured by Jimenez Arms, a brand of cheap throw-away guns favored by criminals due to their low cost.  One of the guns trafficked by Mr. Samuels was used to murder Alvino Dwight Crawford in 2016, whose parents were also represented by Everytown in Crawford v. Jimenez Arms, et al. In 2020, another gun was used to shoot and injure a bus driver aboard a Kansas City public bus, as well as a Kansas City police officer who arrived to respond to the shooting.

Since the lawsuit was filed in January 2020, the following has occurred:

  • Nevada-based manufacturer Jimenez Arms filed for bankruptcy protection in February 2020. Shortly thereafter, the owner of Jimenez Arms acquired a license to start a new gun manufacturing company, which he named J.A. Industries. In response, Kansas City, joined by Everytown for Gun Safety and the State of Illinois, filed a lawsuit against the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) for granting J.A. Industries a license, and in March 2022, in a first-of-its-kind victory for gun safety, ATF issued a notice of license revocation to the manufacturer.
  • The Jackson County court issued a summary judgment decision which rejected various immunity arguments raised by one of the retailer defendants. Importantly, the court held that because Kansas City had alleged that the defendant had violated numerous gun laws, it was not entitled to PLCAA protection. Therefore, the court permitted the City’s public nuisance claim to proceed against the defendant.
  • Kansas City area distributor Mission Ready Gunworks has closed its business, and its owner has agreed to surrender his license to sell firearms and to permanently desist from engaging in the business of selling firearms. Another local dealer agreed to implement a set of written policies designed to prevent the facilitation of gun trafficking and straw purchases, as well as to make a monetary payment to the City. The policies the defendant must undertake under the settlement include mandatory training for all employees for screening potential straw purchasers, maintenance of a video record in the store, routine verification of transfer documents, and a limit on the number of handguns a buyer can purchase each month—all to be verified by an independent monitor.

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