A gun dealer from Ohio who sold a firearm that was later trafficked into New York and used illegally in a shooting cannot be sued in state court by the victim of that crime, the New York State Court of Appeals
ruled May 9.
The court held that Charles Brown, an Ohio gun dealer, couldn’t face the litigation in New York court because he sold the gun in Ohio and had no control over where it would end up after the sale, even if the buyer alluded that he may bring it to New York.
“Despite (the buyer’s) stated aspiration to open a gun shop in Buffalo, the record is devoid of evidence supporting plaintiffs’ theory that, merely by selling handguns to (the buyer) Brown intended to serve the New York market,” the court ruled.
Brown, in this case, was not part of a scheme to traffic guns into New York, the court held. The judges said there was no way for him to know what would happen to the firearms after they were sold so he did not purposefully enter into the New York market at the time.
The buyer later pleaded guilty to federal gun trafficking charges.
Brown's attorney said that "the case's main significance was that this was the lawful sale of a lawful product."
The complete decision can be found here.