Staff report Monday, December 10, 2007
A second local gun dealer has filed a defamation suit against the city of New York and Mayor Michael Bloomberg over its investigation to find illegal gun sales and comments referencing "rogue" gun dealers.
Trader World Inc. of North Charleston and owner John Dukes filed suit in Charleston County last week. It is similar to a complaint filed in Berkeley County by Larry Mickalis of Summerville.
Last month, a local judge ruled Mickalis, of Mickalis Pawn Shop, can sue the mayor and New York City in South Carolina courts for slander, fraud, conspiracy and emotional distress. Mickalis alleges the mayor and his representatives damaged his business and reputation by trying to falsely paint him as a nuisance gun dealer involved in illegal weapon sales.
Mickalis was one of 15 gun store owners across the country who Bloomberg sued in May 2006 for allegedly allowing guns to be sold illegally, contributing to violence on New York's streets. No fewer than 49 guns sold at Mickalis' shop were used in New York City crimes between 1994 and 2001, Bloomberg's federal lawsuit contends.
Mickalis denied breaking the law and said New York did shoddy work in trying to prove he didn't follow sale requirements.
A city official downplayed the significance of the suit. "We believe Trader World could more productively spend their time working with the city to improve their business practices, as so many firearms dealers have already done," said Eric Proshansky, deputy chief in the Division of Affirmative Litigation. "Courts have already found that our arguments have merit and we are hopeful that our position will again prevail in court."