Last month, New Jersey Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin filed two lawsuits under a law allowing the state to sue members of the gun industry that “contribute to a public nuisance in New Jersey through unlawful or unreasonable conduct, or that fail to maintain reasonable controls, relating to their sale, manufacturing, distribution, importing, or marketing of gun-related products.” One of those lawsuits targets FSS Armory, a gun shop in Pine Brook, New Jersey, that allegedly failed to secure its inventory and prevent theft.
(Click here to learn more about the other lawsuit the New Jersey attorney general announced against JSD Supply and Eagle Shows.)
“SHODDY STORAGE” ARMS CRIMINALS
The civil complaint against FFS Armory alleges that the gun dealer left stacks of firearms unsecured and within arm’s reach of a ground-floor window. Further, according to the complaint, FSS Armory hired a third-party vendor to capture images of the store’s interior (as shown below) to post on Google Maps and FSS Armory’s website, allowing people to “walk” through the store virtually — and see the company’s “shoddy storage and security conditions.”
The complaint alleges that in the early morning of January 6, 2023, burglars smashed the “poorly secured” ground-floor window and stole twenty firearms “sitting within arm’s reach” without triggering any alarms or alerting law enforcement. Hours after the burglary, the same individuals robbed a jewelry store at gunpoint using the stolen guns.
A police investigation later uncovered that one of the burglars had searched for “gun stores in nj” on his phone, with FSS Armory appearing in the results, shortly before the burglary took place. According to the complaint, “Looking at the Store on Google Maps or on FSS Armory’s website would have revealed all of the security vulnerabilities exploited by the burglars.”
On January 17, 2023, one of the stolen guns — a Ruger rifle — was sold by traffickers during a controlled-buy operation. Months later, the New York Police Department identified suspects in a fentanyl trafficking ring who sold five more guns stolen from FSS Armory. Finally, a stolen Taurus pistol was recovered by the Paterson Police Department during a sweep of an illegal nightclub. The remaining stolen guns are still missing.
Finally, the complaint alleges, “FSS Armory’s cavalier firearms storage and lax security practices not only violated FSS Armory’s express statutory and regulatory duties, but were contrary to reason and common sense, and recklessly disregarded obvious and extraordinary public safety risks.” The company “compounded its failures by publicly broadcasting them on its website and Google Maps [and] thereby contributed to the ongoing public nuisance of gun crime and gun violence in New Jersey.”