TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal today filed suit against two separate out-of-state companies which previously sold illegal large capacity magazines (LCMs) to undercover state investigators in New Jersey, and which have failed to comply with state subpoenas demanding the records of their New Jersey sales.
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.
Although both Elite Aluminum of Holly Hill, Fla., and 22Mods4All of Longwood, Fla., appear to have discontinued sales of LCMs into New Jersey after receiving a cease-and-desist letter from Attorney General Grewal, both companies have refused to turn over documents showing their prior sales into the state, despite receiving a subpoena.
This investigation predates, and is unrelated to, the attack in Jersey City last week.
“Large capacity magazines are illegal in New Jersey, which is why I’m continuing to file suits against LCM companies that sell their products to our consumers,” said Attorney General Grewal. “The companies we’re going after today have repeatedly stonewalled and withheld evidence from investigators, despite a subpoena. These lawsuits serve as yet another warning to the industry: hide the extent of your unlawful sales from our investigators, and we will see you in court.”
“New Jersey banned the possession and sale of LCMs because of their devastatingly lethal capacity, and because of the role such products have played in tragedy after tragedy around the country,” said Division of Consumer Affairs Acting Director Paul R. Rodríguez. “Not only do we allege that these companies put New Jersey residents at risk by selling dangerous, illegal weapons into the state, exposing purchasers to criminal liability, they have now failed to comply with our investigation. These two sellers have had ample warning and time to cooperate. Their time has run out, and we’re taking them to court.”
Filed in Superior Court in Essex County, the State’s lawsuits against Elite Aluminum and 22Mods4All each include two counts. The first count addresses alleged violations of the Consumer Fraud Act that occurred when the companies offered and sold LCMs to New Jersey buyers despite the fact that possessing an LCM is a fourth-degree crime in New Jersey punishable by up to 18 months in prison and fines of up to $10,000. The second count centers on the failure of both sellers to comply with a subpoena for records documenting their sales activities in New Jersey dating back five years.
The sales information was first requested in cease-and-desist letters sent to both vendors by Attorney General Grewal on January 7, 2019.
The Elite Aluminum cease-and-desist letter came in the wake of the company’s sale and delivery of eight 30-round LCMs to an undercover Division of Criminal Justice (DCJ) detective through three separate transactions in 2018.
The 22Mods4All cease-and-desist letter came in the wake of the company’s sale and delivery of nine 30-round LCMs to an undercover DCJ detective in two separate transactions, also in 2018.
Attorney General Grewal’s letters called on Elite Aluminum and 22Mods4All to stop advertising, selling and/or shipping LCMs to New Jersey. Both appear to be complying with that portion of the letter, as revealed by subsequent undercover efforts to purchase LCMs from both vendors in 2019.
However, the cease-and-desist letters to Elite Aluminum and 22Mods4All also called on each to provide details of past sales of LCMs to any New Jersey address since January 1, 2014, which would allow the State to identify the extent of the companies’ LCM sales and alleged legal violations.
After neither company complied with the demand for information in Attorney General Grewal’s cease-and-desist letters, the Division issued a subpoena to 22Mods4All in July 2019, and to Elite Aluminum in August 2019.
Neither company has complied with the subpoena. 22Mods4All did not respond at all, while Elite Aluminum failed to supply the demanded documents.
Today’s lawsuit is not the first action by Attorney General Grewal to protect New Jersey residents from illegal firearm products and gun violence filed this year. Among other things, in June, Attorney General Grewal filed suit against a Nevada company – New Frontier Armory – after it ignored a cease-and-desist letter and allegedly sold six LCMs to an undercover state investigator, including a 100-round magazine, a 30-round magazine and a 15-round magazine.
And earlier this year – on March 22 – Attorney General Grewal filed suit against James Tromblee, Jr., 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.) That same month, Attorney General Grewal announced criminal charges against individuals trafficking ghost guns into the state.