More than a dozen gun industry stakeholders sued the New York State Attorney General, challenging the constitutionality of a state public nuisance law that allows gun manufacturers and distributors to be sued if their products are used in crimes by third parties.
The legislation, which was signed into law in July, made New York the first state to clear the way for gun manufacturers, distributors and dealers to face civil lawsuits for how they market and sell firearms.
The law was a work-around for the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, a federal law that granted immunity to firearms manufacturers and dealers when crimes were committed with their products.
The lawsuit names New York Attorney General Letitia James as a defendant. And several gun manufacturers — Beretta, Glock, SIG Sauer, Smith & Wesson, Sturm, Ruger & Company — are part of the group that filed the lawsuit on Thursday.
The suit claims that James “expressly acknowledged that the law was enacted as the New York legislature’s attempt to override the federal statutory scheme.” And that the state law violates the Constitution and seeks to “replace the will of Congress and impede lawful commerce outside of New York’s borders.”
James responded by saying she will “aggressively defend this law” and won’t back down.
“Once again, the gun lobby is trying to exert total control over this country and thwart common-sense efforts to protect lives,” James said in a statement.
New York State Senator Zellnor Myrie, who had sponsored the gun public nuisance bill said that by trying to block the law before it’s even been enforced, gun companies are showing they have no interest in responsible marketplace behavior.
“Instead of looking at how to make their products safer and less easily trafficked, they’re running scared because they know their business model depends on flooding our streets with illegal weapons,” Myrie said.
The plaintiffs are seeking a preliminary injunction to prevent James and the State of New York from enforcing the law.
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