TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal today filed suit against a Nevada company that allegedly sold large capacity ammunition magazines (LCMs) online to an undercover state investigator despite having received a cease-and-desist letter from the Attorney General's Office months before.
New Jersey law prohibits the possession and sale of firearm magazines that are capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition. LCMs allow a shooter to fire an unusually high number of bullets at a time, without requiring the shooter to even pause and reload. As a result, violence that involves LCMs can result in more shots fired, persons wounded, and wounds per victim than other gun attacks.
Filed today in New Jersey Superior Court, the State's complaint against Nevada-based New Frontier Armory LLC alleges that the company has sold six LCMs to undercover investigators, including a 100-round magazine.
"Large capacity magazines are dangerous and have been disproportionately used in mass shootings, which is why they are illegal in New Jersey," said Attorney General Grewal. "We warned New Frontier Armory that we had zero tolerance for their sale of unlawful magazines in our state, but they sold a 100-round magazine to our undercover investigator anyway. So we are suing New Frontier Armory for its illegal sales, and we're going to seek the maximum civil penalties. This lawsuit should be a warning to the industry: if you sell deadly and unlawful firearms or magazines into New Jersey, we're going to take action against you too."
"Despite being put on notice that their actions violate New Jersey law and being directed to stop, New Frontier Armory has continued to advertise and sell illegal large capacity magazines to our residents," said Acting Division of Consumer Affairs Director Paul R. Rodríguez. "By continuing to sell LCMs to New Jersey buyers, and failing to disclose that these weapons are illegal, New Frontier Armory has shown complete disregard for New Jersey consumers and for our state's consumer protection laws. We warned firearms sellers that we would take action if they kept selling unlawful firearms and ammunition to New Jersey residents, and we are making good on that promise again today."
The State's three-count complaint against New Frontier Armory includes two counts of violating New Jersey's Consumer Fraud Act and one count of violating state regulations governing illegal products. The complaint alleges that 27 of the 30 magazines New Frontier Armory offered for sale in New Jersey could hold 15 to 100 rounds of ammunition, in violation of state law.
New Frontier Armory operates a walk-in retail store in North Las Vegas and sells firearms and related equipment and supplies online via its website. Among other things, today's filing by the State seeks "immediate relief" to bar New Frontier Armory from advertising, offering for sale or selling LCMs to New Jersey residents.
On January 7 of this year, Attorney General Grewal issued a cease-and-desist letter to New Frontier Armory demanding that it stop advertising, selling and/or shipping LCMs to New Jersey. On January 22 of this year, the retailer responded that it had "notified our distribution center staff of your current New Jersey law."
On May 23, 2019, an undercover state investigator purchased a 100-round magazine, a 30-round magazine, and a 15-round magazine from New Frontier Armory online. Six days later, the state investigator picked up the purchased LCMs at a New Jersey shipping address.
New Frontier Armory had also previously sold three LCMs to an undercover state investigator, bringing up to six the total number of LCMs illegally sold by New Frontier Armory to investigators.
Today's lawsuit alleges that New Frontier Armory engaged in unconscionable commercial practices and deception by advertising and selling LCMs despite knowing that their sale is illegal in New Jersey and without warning New Jersey purchasers that possession of LCMs subjects the buyer to criminal prosecution.
The lawsuit also alleges that New Frontier Armory engaged in "misrepresentations and knowing omissions of material fact" by falsely stating on its website that it would cancel any order that involved shipping LCMs to areas where they are illegal, and by failing to provide a disclaimer on its website cautioning that possession of an LCM by a New Jersey resident is a crime.
In addition to the State's request to prevent New Frontier Armory from making any future sale of LCMs into New Jersey, today's filing seeks to impose the maximum statutory civil penalties and to disgorge any monies acquired by New Frontier Armory through its illegal sales. The suit also seeks a court order directing the company to post a clear statement on its website making clear that LCMs are unlawful in New Jersey.
Today's lawsuit is not the first action by Attorney General Grewal to protect New Jersey residents from illegal firearm products and gun violence. On March 22, 2019, the Attorney General filed suit against defendant James Tromblee, Jr., founder and owner of the California-based "ghost gun" company U.S. Patriot Armory. The lawsuit alleged that U.S. Patriot Armory violated the State's Consumer Fraud Act by continuing to advertise, market, and offer for sale ghost guns to New Jersey residents (ghost guns are partially-assembled firearms sold with the parts needed to create a fully-operational gun – and often even with the instructions on how to do so).
Earlier that same week in March, Attorney General Grewal announced criminal charges against individuals trafficking ghost guns into the state.