BUFFALO, N.Y. — New York Attorney General Letitia James announced her office has filed a lawsuit against MEAN, LLC (Mean Arms) a gun accessory manufacture for allegedly aiding the illegal possession of assault weapons in New York state.
The lawsuit references the weapon used in the mass shooting that happened on Buffalo in May 2022 that killed ten Black people.
The lawsuit states the company allegedly, deceptively and falsely advertised that by installing an MA Lock on a weapon it makes the weapon legal in New York, which the Attorney General's office says aided and abetted illegal possession of assault weapons in New York.
Current gun laws in New York ban the possession of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.
According to the Office of Attorney General (OAG), Mean Arms makes, sells, and distributes a magazine lock, known as the MA Lock, "that is marketed as a device to lock a magazine onto a semiautomatic rifle." They say the lock can be easily removed allowing detachable magazines to hold more than 10 rounds.
The OAG says Payton Gendron purchased a used AR-15 that had an MA Lock installed in January 2022. Gendron, a white male, killed 10 Black people on May 14, 2022 at the Tops Market on Jefferson Avenue. Three people were also injured.
In Gendron's manifesto, he showed how he was able to easily remove the MA Lock from the assault rifle within a few minutes and added a 30 round detachable magazine on his gun. The same gun that was used to kill those 10 people, the OAG says.
“The racist mass shooting at the Tops grocery store in Buffalo was one of the darkest days in the history of our state and our nation,” James said in a statement. “We lost 10 innocent lives because a hate-fueled individual was able to make an AR-15 even deadlier through a simple change at home. 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. 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.”
The lawsuit seeks to "require Mean Arms to pay restitution and damages for its illegal practices that violated the statute and caused compensable injuries; stop selling, shipping, or distributing the MA Lock to any person within New York state; pay civil penalties; and disgorge all revenues wrongfully obtained."
"This was clearly a violation, false advertising and endanger the public, and I commend them for filing this lawsuit," said attorney John Elmore.
Elmore is representing several families whose loved ones died in the shooting.
"Mean Arms in their advertising said that that would make it legal to sell in New York and California," Elmore said. "Attorney General's lawsuit makes it clear that it wasn't legal to do that, and that the advertisement was false."
The Attorney General is requesting the company to correct statements regarding alleged false and misleading public statements on the MA Lock.
Gendron pleaded guilty on November 28, 2022, to 15 state charges.
- 10 counts of 1st-degree murder; 1 for each victim
- 1 count of domestic terrorism
- 3 counts of 2nd-degree attempted murder as a hate crime; 1 for each person injured.
- 1 count of 2nd criminal possession of the weapon.
He still faces a trial in Federal Court.