You can buy just about anything online, and state boundaries sometimes blur on the Information Highway. But Massachusetts officials are cracking down, with Attorney General Tom Reilly suing seven out-of-state weapons sellers and three out-of-state ammunition sellers, charging they sold illegal products in Massachusetts.
The suits claim the weapons sellers sold and shipped stun guns, switch-blade knives, swords, nunchaku, throwing stars, sling shots and dirk knives to an undercover investigator in violation of statutes banning the sale of such items.
"We cannot allow these dangerous weapons to get into the hands of anyone in Massachusetts, particularly our children," AG Reilly said. "If sellers think that they can hide behind a website and ship these illegal items into our state, they are mistaken."
The cases arose from undercover stings conducted by Reilly's Office in 2002 and 2003. Four of the companies, Bynoon.com, Discount Martial Arts Supply, Lifestyle Fascination, and Talley Security Products, agreed to orders banning all future sales of weapons into Massachusetts and requiring payments of $5000 each to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
These companies must place a posting on their websites stating that they do not ship weapons into Massachusetts. They must also equip their sites with software that blocks any orders from a Massachusetts address.
The other cases are set for a preliminary injunction hearing on September 10.
Under Massachusetts law, the sale or possession of various weapons, such as switch blade knives, dirk knives, sling shots, throwing stars, numchucks, sword canes, and black jacks, is illegal. There is a separate statute that prohibits the sale or possession of electrical weapons, including stun guns.
"Our investigator had no trouble getting stun guns, switch blades, and cane swords on the Internet," AG Reilly added.
These cases are part of an overall initiative by Reilly's Office targeting the sale of illegal or age-prohibited products in Massachusetts, such as alcohol, cigarettes, ammunition and fireworks. During last year's holiday season, the Attorney General's Office worked with Toys "R" Us to remove a sling shot that violated the Massachusetts weapons statute from the company's store shelves and website.