State Senator Zellnor Myrie
New York nuisance law mastermind State Senator Zellnor Myrie (Marc A. Hermann / MTA New York City Transit)
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From the NSSF . . .

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) and a group of fourteen firearm manufacturers, distributors, and retailers filed a lawsuit and moved for a preliminary injunction in federal court today challenging as unconstitutional a New York law designed to blame the industry for the criminal misuse or unlawful possession of firearms in New York no matter where they were purchased.

Specifically, New York’s “public nuisance” law would subject members of the firearm industry to civil lawsuits for the criminal misuse or unlawful possession of firearms in New York. The law would impose liability on industry members for firearms lawfully sold anywhere in the United States that end up being criminally misused or illegally possessed in New York thereby allegedly contributing to a “public nuisance” in the state.

Today’s lawsuit challenges the New York law as preempted by the federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA). It also challenges the law as unconstitutionally vague in violation of the Due Process Clause of the United States Constitution. The lawsuit further challenges the law as an impermissible attempt by New York State to regulate interstate commerce in violation of the Commerce Clause of the Constitution.

New York is trying to use the threat of crushing liability to coerce out-of-state businesses to adopt sales practices and procedures not required by Congress or the law of the state where they operate. The Constitution reserves the power to regulate interstate commerce solely to Congress. This law interferes with the sovereignty of other states to make policy choices about how firearms should be sold in their state, subject only to the Second Amendment and federal law.

The challenged law permits lawsuits by victims of criminal acts and citizens claiming they have been harmed by an alleged public nuisance in New York. It also allows lawsuits by the State and any local government, like the City of New York. Both New York State and the City of New York were part of a wave of similar lawsuits filed over twenty years ago that led to Congress passing the bipartisan PLCAA in 2005.

The PLCAA codified a bedrock legal principle. Manufacturers and retailers are not responsible for the subsequent criminal misuse or illegal possession of their lawfully sold, non-defective products by remote third parties – criminals – over whom they have no control. Firearm industry members are not legally responsible for illegal shootings any more than a cookware manufacturer is responsible if a criminal misuses a sharp kitchen knife to stab someone.

“This law is not about making our communities safer but rather, as former Governor Andrew Cuomo once proclaimed, to impose on the firearm industry a ‘death by a thousand cuts.’ Today’s lawsuit will end this unconstitutional attack on the businesses, large and small, vital to Americans’ Second Amendment rights,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF Senior Vice President for Government and Public Affairs and General Counsel. “Opening up members of the firearm industry to a torrent of baseless civil lawsuits is – as it was in the past – an effort to impose radical gun control policies by litigating the forceful bankruptcy of companies. New York’s baseless law ignores the fact that members of the firearm industry work cooperatively with federal, state, and local authorities for Real Solutions to help address crimes involving guns.”

Legal experts such as Professor Jonathan Turley have long defended the merits of the PLCAA pointing out that laws like the one recently passed in New York are “unsound attempts” to distort principles of liability. New York’s law allows the very type of novel tort law actions, including those by New York State and City of New York, struck down by courts two decades ago.

NSSF looks forward to working with the individual plaintiffs and other members of the firearm industry to fight this blatantly unconstitutional New York law and in doing so, uphold the foundations of tort law, fight government overreach, and protect the firearm businesses that lawfully operate and employ over 340,000 of Americans.

For more information on the PLCAA, see NSSF’s Fact Sheet.

You can read the lawsuit here.

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28 COMMENTS

  1. Today’s lawsuit challenges the New York law as preempted by the federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA).

    Maybe they can suspend the filibuster again and get rid of the PLCAA. Murkowski and Romney are on board I’m sure, but what about McConnell?

    • Oddly enough, United States Senators Joe Manchin (Democrat, West Virginia) and Kyrsten Sinema (Democrat, Arizona) broke ranks with Senate Democrats and are the only reason that the U.S. Senate has not eliminated the U.S. Senate’s self-imposed cloture rule. Otherwise, Democrats would have complete and total control of Congress and the White House and steamroll anything and everything that they have ever wanted (or even think they wanted).

      I will sleep much better if Republicans regain a majority in the U.S. Senate at the mid-term elections: then we would not be totally depending on Democrats to stop Democrats from steamrolling everything they want.

      Serious question: if Democrats are exceptional at one thing, it is keeping all of their party members in line and voting as a single giant bloc. How is it that Manchin and Sinema keep breaking ranks with their party?

      • John McCain voted against removing Obamacare, yet Manchin and Sinema refuse to change the filibuster and open the floodgates to “progressive” tyranny.

        Ain’t karma a b*

      • “How is it that Manchin and Sinema keep breaking ranks with their party?”

        Well, it’s because they are more like Republicans, who always have members going rogue and voting with the opposition. Seems the only thing all Republicans agree on, is that they never all agree on anything.

  2. I wonder why all this nonsense isn’t being shut down through the argument of these actions having a “chilling effect” on citizens attempting to exercise their constitutionally enumerated rights?

    I listened to an interesting commentary last night by a conservative radio show host, in which he opined that we’ve now fully become a post-modern, post-Christian, and post-Founders nation. Half of Americans want to retain traditional values and are patriotic, and half now want socialism and look to Government to give them what they believe they “deserve”. This is quickly evolving into a Patriot/Marxist dichotomy that will continue to fray our nation.

    • Wonderful. Yet another comment “awaiting moderation”. Seems to be happening more frequently on TTAG. I have absolutely no clue which word or phrase triggered the site to consider what I said above (or anything I ever say, for that matter) as something that needs moderation. Getting tiresome, especially in light of how derogatory and vulgar comments by others are given a pass. Geez.

  3. This sort of garbage (Progressives constantly attacking their political enemies) is getting really old.

    I liken this to a scumbag man who desperately wants to sleep with a woman who has absolutely no interest. At first the scumbag asks nicely and the woman refuses. Then the scumbag tells her that it will be good for her and she refuses. Next, the scumbag tells her that he is superior to her and she owes it to him–and she refuses. Now the scumbag tells the woman that she should be ashamed of herself for her prudish attitude and she is guilty of some societal failing so she should sleep with the scumbag to atone for her failings–and she refuses. Undeterred, the scumbag promises to “cancel” her unless she submits and she refuses. Finally, the scumbag files a crushing lawsuit against her for her constant refusals–with the promise that he will withdraw the lawsuit if she finally submits and sleeps with him.

    Of course, all the while that this is going on, the scumbag is donating large sums of money to politicians and has prominent lobbying firms pressing politicians to pass a law which compels the woman to sleep with him and, upon her continued refusal, empowers police to use any and all force necessary to subdue the woman and bind her in a favorable position for the scumbag to have his way with her.

    In the characterization above, everything beyond asking nicely and telling the woman it will be good for her demonstrates that the scumbag rejects the woman’s inherent human dignity. History makes it absolutely clear that REALLY BAD things happen when an entity rejects another entity’s inherent human dignity.

  4. The ny law is as stupid ridiculous as it sounds. You really have to be a sick Gun hating, 2A hating kkk nazi Gun Control zealot to concoct such slanderous, libelous filth. And you have be a bigger pos to vote for it and sign it into law. In other words the ny law is all poop and no toilet.

  5. Today’s date in Freedom’s History: 12/16/1773. American Patriots in response to the Tea Tax implemented by King George III. Boarded a British ship and threw 300 chests of English tea into Boston Harbor. As a protest against Taxation Without Representation. Later to be Considered 1 of the main causes of the Revolutionary War. Keep Your Powder Dry.

  6. The same thing was undertakenn byntheAUTOMOBILE inductryn that was wqas responsible due to bad design took many lives , The Auto Industry was forced by court Actions t drastically mend it’s wqays and introduce and introduce a wide range of ENFORCEABLE safety measures that, at the time, the Auto Industry told us all were impossible to implement , unacceptable to the public, denied the public and denied their constiutional rights and personal freedoms publc. NONE of this proved true.

    It’s about time that the GUN INDUSTRY did the same because it’s that industry that id encouaging and financing the opposition to more stringent gun controls. NOTE here I am not advocating the banning of firearme in the USA because that’s none of my business but I am looking at the issue of public Safety and to comment on the responsiblity of the US Arms industry and have every right to do that.

  7. Good afternoon, do you think it is necessary to prohibit carrying weapons with you, or let it be as it will be, and if you have problems with the law? I advise you to find a lawyer who can protect your rights. And nowadays it is very difficult to find a good lawyer. I can recommend Paul Mankin to you

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