The City of Kansas City, Missouri, announced at a press conference Tuesday, January 7, that it was suing Jimenez Arms, Inc., a Nevada gun manufacturer, multiple current or former Kansas City-area licensed firearms dealers, an alleged gun trafficker, and an alleged straw purchaser for illegally trafficking handguns into the Kansas City area.
The suit alleges that four local gun shops conspired with former Kansas City Firefighter James Samuels and his straw buyer Iesha Boles to illegally put at least seventy-seven guns into the hands of known felons on the streets in Kansas City, contributing to the escalating culture of gun violence.
Court documents state “the consequences of this scheme were all too predictable: the guns turned up at crime scenes involving drugs, domestic violence, and murder…. The Defendants’ conduct worked an irreparable harm on the health and well-being of Kansas City residents and imposed significant costs on the City by exacerbating the ongoing gun violence crisis in the City.”
According to the Kansas City Police Department’s 2019 Homicide Analysis, of the 148 total homicides in Kansas City in 2019, 140 of them involved some type of firearm, 93 specifically involved handguns.
The City seeks reimbursement for the costs of dealing with violent crime traceable to the trafficking ring and seeks an order requiring the defendants to recover firearms that are still in circulation.
“Today’s definitive action by the City of Kansas City and Everytown Law signals that our community will not look the other way when it comes to illegal gun trafficking,” said Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas. “As we continue working to end the violent crime epidemic in Kansas City, identifying and prosecuting those who illegally obtain or provide guns to those who should not have them, as defined by law, will remain part of the solution.”
The case is an outgrowth of a five-year federal case that has charged Samuels with fourteen counts of illegally trafficking firearms.
Court documents allege that Samuels purchased handguns from Jimenez Arms, Inc. illegally for roughly $115 each.
Samuels then resold the weapons at a significant profit to people with felony convictions, often through a straw buyer such as Iesha Boles.
The suit also alleges that local gun shop Conceal & Carry transferred roughly 17 guns to Samuels and 5 to his associates between 2013 and 2014.
Two other local gun retailers, CR Sales Firearms and Mission Ready Gunworks, are alleged to have transferred roughly 30 guns to Samuels and his associates between 2015 and 2017.
Everytown Law, a New York City-based gun safety advocacy group founded by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, is assisting in the prosecution of the case, the first of its kind against a gun manufacturer in over ten years.
“Gun dealers and manufacturers have a legal responsibility not to ignore suspicious purchasing behaviors that indicate illegal gun trafficking or straw purchasing,” said Alla Lefkowitz, Director of Affirmative Litigation for Everytown Law.
Everytown Law represents the parents of Alvino Dwight Crawford, who was killed in 2016 with one of the firearms trafficked by this ring.
According to court documents, Crawford was walking in his neighborhood near 83rd and Campbell in Kansas City, Missouri, with a few friends the evening of July 4th, 2016 when an unknown assailant struck him in the head with a bat. Another individual then shot Crawford eight times. That shooter was 14-years-old.
The suit, brought by the City of Kansas City, Missouri, and Everytown Law, is seeking relief by asking the court to order Jimenez Arms Inc. and the firearm dealer defendants to take corrective action to identify and recover trafficked firearms, comply with state and federal firearms laws, submit to five years of supervision by a court-appointed monitor, including observation and repeated integrity-testing, and require all personnel to undergo mandatory training by a court-approved training entity.