NYS Attorney General sues gun accessory maker for Buffalo mass shooting

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BUFFALO, N.Y. — The New York State Attorney General filed a lawsuit on Thursday against a gun accessory manufacturer for its role in the Buffalo shooting that left 10 Black people dead on May 14.

Attorney General Letitia James said the company Mean Arms sells a magazine lock that can too easily be removed from a gun to turn it into a high-capacity weapon, which is illegal in New York.

James said that Buffalo shooter Payton Gendron removed the magazine lock on his AR-15 semiautomatic rifle within minutes at his home and added a 30-round magazine. Ordinarily, the rifle could only hold 10 rounds.

The lawsuit seeks money in restitution, civil penalties, and aims to prevent Mean Arms from selling in New York. It alleges that the company falsely advertised that its magazine locks limit rifle capacity. The lawsuit also says the Georgia-based company provided step-by-step instructions on removing the magazine lock on the back of product packaging.

Gendron legally bought the rifle used in the Buffalo shooting in January 2022 and illegally modified it, allowing him to shoot more people without reloading.

“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,” James said.

Gendron, 19, was sentenced to life in prison without parole on February 15 for the racist attack. He targeted Tops grocery store in Buffalo because it was in a majority Black community and his shooting was fueled by online hateful conspiracy theories.

Gendron also faces separate federal charges that could carry a death sentence if the U.S. Justice Department chooses to seek it. This Sunday will mark one year since the mass shooting.