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Gun violence prevention groups applaud court ruling on NYS law

News, wire reports
Posted 5/27/22

Gun violence prevention advocacy groups applauded a federal court decision to dismiss a challenge brought by the gun industry against a law that provides victims of gun violence access to the courts.

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Gun violence prevention groups applaud court ruling on NYS law


NEW YORK CITY — The Brady, Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence and New Yorkers Against Gun Violence applauded a decision by a federal court in New York on Wednesday to dismiss a challenge brought by the gun industry against a law that provides victims of gun violence access to the courts.

“As we grieve for the lives lost in Uvalde, this decision shows that there is reason for hope, and that the gun lobby can be defeated,” said the announcement by the organization.

The law, which was sponsored by state Sen. Zellnor Myrie and Assemblymember Patricia Fahy and signed into law in July 2021, prohibits gun companies from endangering the health or safety of the public, and requires that gun companies establish and utilize reasonable controls and procedures to prevent their products from being possessed, used, marketed, or sold unlawfully.

A gun industry trade association, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), led a lawsuit with 14 gun companies challenging the law, which was defended by state Attorney General Letitia James. 

“As we mourn the deaths of 19 innocent children lost to gun violence in Uvalde and the countless more in Buffalo and across America every day, this is a moment of light and hope. New York is proud to defend the right to impose reasonable gun restrictions that protect all of us,” James said. “As public officials, we were elected to solve problems and address the needs of the people. Prayers alone will no longer do, and cowardliness is not part of the job description. New York will always lead, and I urge others with a backbone to follow.”

The New York public nuisance law, James said, restores the ability of the state and localities to bring civil liability actions against firearm manufacturers and sellers for their own bad conduct.

In 2005, James said, Congress took unprecedented action to usurp states’ rights and give gun manufacturers and distributors blanket immunity for gun violence perpetrated as a direct result of their marketing and distribution of firearms. This law combats that federal overreach and provides New York the ability to protect its own citizens, James contends.

The Brady, Giffords Law Center, and New Yorkers Against Gun Violence filed an amicus brief, along with Everytown For Gun Safety, in defense of the law.

“These have been a dark two weeks. Black people slain while shopping in Buffalo, a commuter shot dead on the train I take every week in Brooklyn, and children mercilessly massacred in Texas. We’ve needed some good news in the fight to end gun violence and the court’s decision today is just that,” said Myrie.

“We passed this first-in-the-nation law for one reason: to protect New Yorkers from gun violence and hold bad actors in the gun industry who help facilitate that violence accountable,” Myrie said. “I am glad to see that the court agreed with us and commend our attorney general for vigorously defending the constitutionality of the law and her ability to hold these bad actors accountable. I hope every state in the nation is paying attention — federal inaction is not an excuse. This is your moment to step up. Together, with community and incredible advocates like New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, Giffords Law Center, and Brady, we stood up the gun industry and won. I hope today’s ruling inspires every American to do the same.”

“This decision correctly affirms New York’s right to enact strong and common-sense laws to protect their citizens from irresponsible and dangerous behavior,” said Brady President Kris Brown. “The fact that the gun lobby questioned this fact, points to their brazen desperation to escape any liability and accountability for fueling gun trafficking, violence, and bloodshed across every community in New York and the country.”

The companies are expected to appeal the decision, according to reports.


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