Award recognizes Ohio attorney and firearms dealer for successful defense against NY gun control zealots’ effort to cripple the firearms industry

May 21, 2019 | BUFFALO, N.Y. – With great pleasure today, 2AWNY.COM Civil Rights Advocate Steve Felano presented the Rappahannock Forge Award for Firearms Industry Defense to Attorney Scott L. Braum and MKS Supply, LLC President Charles Brown. Braum and Brown secured a substantial victory on May 9, 2019 in the New York State Court of Appeals. Working together, they halted legally baseless efforts by the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, Everytown for Gun Safety, and the American Association for Justice to reconstitute New York State’s long-arm statute into a weapon against lawful firearms dealers.

Mr. Braum told the New York Law Journal that the case, Williams v. Beemiller, Inc., was about whether the seller of a firearm should be treated differently than any other product salesman, and the court concluded no.

“We’re pleased with the decision of the court after the unanimous decision from the Appellate Division,” Mr. Braum told The Buffalo News. “We certainly believe the court made the right call on this one.”

“Thankfully, Mr. Braum and Mr. Brown were successful in persuading a majority of Court of Appeals judges to decide the Williams v. Beemiller, Inc. case on the basis of logic instead of emotion,” 2AWNY.COM Civil Rights Advocate Steve Felano said. “The argument made by Brady Center Attorney Jonathan E. Lowy that Mr. Brown should have known his products would be illegally sold and used in a gang shooting because his customer commented he ‘wouldn’t mind having a [firearms] shop in Buffalo’ is absurd. The responsibility of a licensed firearms dealer is to ensure that sales are made to eligible persons according to applicable laws, not to jump to conclusions about buyer intent based on casual comments and conjecture. Reviewing the facts of this case, it appears Mr. Brown took the required steps to ensure his sale was made legally, and that’s where his responsibility correctly ended. What the Brady Center and other New York gun control zealots attempted to do in the context of this case was pervert New York State’s long-arm statute to the point that it could be used to punish licensed firearms dealers for doing something they feel is immoral – selling legal firearms to law-abiding citizens. Because groups like Everytown aren’t seeing federal enactment of the type of unconstitutional imperial gun control edicts they’d prefer, they’re stretching unrelated statutes beyond their legally permissible limit in an attempt to end all gun sales by legal and financial fiat. Employment of this tactic was recently seen in the Soto v. Bushmaster case as decided by the Connecticut Supreme Court, and it’s a disturbing trend that must be halted.”

Soto v. Bushmaster involves a lawsuit backed by Giffords Law Center and other gun control zealots against the manufacturers and sellers of the semi-automatic rifle used in the 2012 Sandy Hook mass killing. The plaintiffs seek to financially cripple the firearms industry enterprises at issue to the point that they can no longer do business. The strategy set forth to accomplish this centers on reimagining Connecticut’s Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA) as a legal and financial weapon to be wielded against Bushmaster and others. The overall goal of this lawsuit is to establish a legal precedent that can be used to put the entire American firearms industry out of business.

On March 14, 2019, the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that the lawsuit could proceed, finding that applying CUTPA to the defendants’ “militaristic marketing” would not run afoul of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), a federal statute that broadly immunizes gun manufacturers and sellers from civil liability for crimes committed with their products. The state high court remanded the case to the trial court for discovery and eventually a potential trial.

The 2AWNY Rappahannock Forge Award for Firearms Industry Defense is named for one of America’s earliest arms and munitions production facilities – Virginia’s Rappahannock Forge. At the onset of the Revolutionary War, Virginia needed to supply troops with vast quantities of standardized military arms and ammunition. The Rappahannock Forge stepped in to fill this critical role, contributing to an American arms production industry and lineage that carries on to this day. Said industry was and still is essential to securing American freedom from government tyranny. Therefore, the American firearms industry must be vigorously defended, and Mr. Braum and Mr. Brown have done an exceptional job of doing so in the courts.  

To learn more about any of the above, please contact Steve Felano at (518) 852-1863 or [email protected].

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2AWNY is a force multiplier for the numerous Second Amendment civil rights advocacy enterprises forming the backbone of Western New York’s vibrant gun culture. We act as a 2A news and information distribution, policy analysis, and organizational driver for the many interest groups seeking to defend and expand Second Amendment civil rights throughout the region. 2AWNY is dedicated to assisting in the organization, promotion, and funding of legal challenges to the unconstitutional New York State gun control regime. We seek to make Western New York the epicenter of New York State’s Second Amendment civil rights renaissance. Learn more at WWW.2AWNY.COM.