Andrew Cuomo
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (AP Photo/Mike Groll)
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By Larry Keane

They’ve watched as the Empire State’s staunchly antigun legislature continues to attack their Second Amendment right and the industry that supports it. Now New York county legislatures are raising their collective voices, trying to stop Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo from doing what comes naturally – suffocating the rights of law-abiding New Yorkers from purchasing and possessing firearms.

It’s crunch time in New York for the firearm industry.

Inalienable Right, Not Public Nuisance

Antigun legislators hold supermajorities in both the State Assembly and State Senate. It was only a matter of time before a gun control bill based on lies and fabrications passed through, even with a fight from gun rights supporters. So is the case now as State Sen. Zellnor Myrie (D-Brooklyn) and Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy (D-Albany) ushered through legislation to allow civil lawsuits against law-abiding firearm manufacturers and retailers by amending the state’s “public nuisance” law.

The bill declares the illegal possession and criminal misuse of firearms a public nuisance (we agree) but then seeks to blame members of the industry who lawfully sell firearms for this criminal justice problem.

“Responsible gun companies do not need special legal protections from lawsuits,” said the bill’s chief senate sponsor, Sen. Zellnor Myrie. That’s exactly right. But the firearm industry and retailers don’t have special legal protections. Sen. Myrie either knows this and is playing politics or is willfully ignorant about his own bill.

The claim long pushed by antigun politicians like President Biden that the firearm industry gets blanket immunity is false. Even CNN pointed out the whopper: “Facts First: This (claim) is false. Gun manufacturers are not entirely exempt from being sued, nor are they only industry with some liability protections. Under the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), gun manufacturers cannot be held liable for the use of their products in a crime.”

If signed by Gov. Cuomo, the law would essentially gut the bipartisan Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) and open up a new tidal wave of frivolous lawsuits against the industry not seen since the late 1990s and early 2000s. Back then, members of our industry were being sued – largely by big cities like New York – for lawfully selling firearms later misused by criminals.

No other industry has been held legally responsible for the criminal misuse of their lawfully sold products. The PLCAA was passed in direct response to these junk lawsuits. A federal appellate court in Manhattan dismissed the City of New York’s public nuisance case against members of the industry holding that New York’s public nuisance law did not fit within the PLCAA’s exception that allow claims for violations of laws applicable to the sale and marketing of firearms, like the Gun Control Act.

This bill, now on Gov. Cuomo’s desk, is intended to, in effect, overrule the appellate court’s decision by seeking to apply New York’s public nuisance law expressly to the sale and marketing of firearms.

Prof. Victor Schwartz, the nation’s leading authority on tort law, called this New York public nuisance bill a cheap shot in a N.Y. Daily News op-ed.

The last step before the bill becomes law is the signature of Gov. Andrew Cuomo. His antigun record is longer than the Hudson River.

Fighting For the Right

The impact the law would have on New York-based firearm manufacturers and retailers would be devastating, causing many to move to friendlier states, and in the case of local retailers, shut down completely.

Jane Havens, owner of Calamity Jane’s Firearms in Kingsbury, New York, in Washington County, said if the bill became law her insurance company would drop her coverage. Havens is also a member of the Kingsbury Town Board, and helped usher through a county Board of Legislators resolution urging Gov. Cuomo to not sign the bill.

Noting lawful firearm ownership is constitutionally protected, the resolution reads in part, “New York state should be proud of our manufacturers of firearms and components and Washington County appreciates the sales tax revenue on all hunting and sporting equipment, firearms, ammunition and accessories sold through dealers.” Washington County legislators passed the resolution unanimously.

They aren’t alone. Herkimer County, where Remington Arms is based, also unanimously passed their resolution. Orleans and Genesee counties joined the effort. Schuyler County did so too unanimously, and several additional counties have slated votes on resolutions urging the governor not to sign the bill.

A Million Here, A Million There

Gov. Cuomo has a distinct achievement he can’t shake as he runs for yet another term. He has not only overseen the loss of more than one million jobs in 2020, he’s been at the helm as 1.4 million New Yorkers have left since 2011, when his tenure began. If he signs the firearm “public nuisance” law, those numbers will certainly grow.

For more than two hundred years, the Empire State has had a proud history of firearm manufacturers. But now that history is changing as industry members reevaluate their circumstances and move to more firearm friendly states.

Ilion-based Remington is watching what happens very closely. Kimber has relocated and Dark Storm Industries is doing so as well. Check-Mate Industries, a handgun and rifle magazine and other firearm accessories manufacture, pulled up roots, too and there are others.

All told, the remaining firearm industry footprint in New York in 2021 totals more than 8,600 direct jobs paying nearly $726 million in wages and an economic output of more than $2.3 billion.

Governor Cuomo may not care and ultimately sign the bill into law. But there are tens of thousands of New Yorkers who are fighting tooth and nail to urge him not to and standing up for the God-given right to keep and bear firearms.


Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.


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    • cuomo…All that’s missing for that Jim Crow Gun Control democRat is a sheet, pointed hat and a torch.

  1. Of COURSE he will sign it. His communist masters in DC and Beijing demand it. Are there no true patriots left in NYS?

      • Of course. Daily. I’m retired, it’s what I do. If you have ever read any of my posts you would know that I have no faith in the court systems especially SCOTUS. Cuomo will sign the bill, count on it. It will be challenged in the state courts who will dismiss the cases automatically. The appeals court, if it hears it will also deny. SCOTUS will deny cert. That is the routine now. Take a look at the 9th circus right now. The EnBanc hearing the magazine ban has 7 anti gun and 4 progun judges stiing. The outcome is a fore gone conclusion.

    • Bloomberg runs the financial industry. The financial industry runs New York, at the approval of the Five Families.

  2. This is laughable. Cuomo will sign the bill with delight and great fanfare. Sicko’s like him thrive on the abuse of power and snickers at those he has wiped his feet on.

    • If someone is wiping their feet on you, cut them off at the ankles. If that doesn’t work, then move up to the knees.

  3. Can’t hold criminals responsible for what they might do since they didn’t do it yet.
    Can’t make them not do it because they’re criminals.

    Typical government, the only people we CAN control are the ones who are obeying the laws, so we’ll just make them suffer more and call it a win.

    • joe xidens translation of ‘it takes a village’.

      If one person steps out of line ‘bulldoze the entire village’.

      • “bulldoze the entire village”

        ‘t’s ‘xactly what the soviets did. whole cities disappeared off of official maps. at one point one third of leningrad was arrested.

        same people want to do that here.

  4. The only effect the bills won’t have is reducing violent crime, but that’s not the point, is it.

    • the only crime they’re worried about is the crime of not being under their direct personal control.

  5. This is why right wingers keep losing. Because they are stupid. You cant talk your way out of this problem.

  6. let him sign it!!!!!!!!!!! heck make him sign it!!!!!!

    then have the FPC sue car makers, booze makers, drug makers, knife makers, hammer makers in the same light!

    my bet is in less than 2 weeks after ford, GMC, Chevy, Budweiser, Jack Daniels, Stanley get tons of orders to appear in court and lose billions…this shit will vanish like responsibly spent taxpayer funding at a DNC convention!

  7. What Cuomo does in public is a public nuisance. What he does in private is sexual assault.

  8. “He has not only overseen the loss of more than one million jobs in 2020, he’s been at the helm as 1.4 million New Yorkers have left since 2011.”

    I’m pleased to count myself as one of the 1.4 million who have left for a free state, as of just a few weeks ago. The difference is startling. Everything is cheaper (even accounting for the Biden inflation), and there are so many fewer infringements, not just for guns, but day-to-day as well: like getting plastic bags again at the grocery store (they’re banned in NY) or using the little tab thing on the gas pump handle so you don’t have to squeeze it for five minutes in sub-zero weather (they’re removed from all pumps in NY). Property taxes are fully 1/6 what they are in NY (my realtor didn’t believe me when I told him).

    All that, and all I had to do was give up… nothing. I should have made myself #1 of 1.4 million instead of #1,400,000

    • I love driving around seeing the sights, I know what you mean about the different mandates concerning the simple pumping of gas. We have to do this or that, else this disaster might happen, but when you point out that has NEVER happened when everybody else in the world does not have your stupid rules, you get “but if it saves one life …” in return. Totally mindless, dreamed up from nothing just in order to exercise control over others. It was close to 50 years ago some high school dropout at a gas station in Oregon was explaining to me (a college grad who had disassembled and reassembled internal combustion engines, and was currently an Air Force pilot) why I could not legally pump my own gas, because I was so stupid I would blow up the entire station, I needed his expert intervention to save me. I inquired where all these explosions were covered in the news, since in every other state I could pump my own gas, the death toll must be horrific. He didn’t even get the sarcasm.

  9. Simple answer is “loser pays”, even Soros will get tired of losing case after case when he has to pay the costs of both plaintiff and defendant, particularly once he discovers that just as soon as his dupes file a lawsuit, every two-bit lawyer in the country raises his fees to $1000/hr and volunteers to join the team, so he pays a $million for the suit he directed and $20 million for the defense. Lawyers would LOVE it!

  10. I wonder if federal supremacy will save the immunities of the PLCAA, or whether courts will rule that there is an independent cause of action under state law. I also wonder whether this law will be applied to out of state manufacturers who sell arms in NYS (assuming all of the FFLs don’t fold up their tents), i.e., that it is an attack on the entire industry. Further, does the statute purport to apply to only newly manufactured arms or to all arms irrespective of date of manufacture? If so, that raises some very serious 2A issues. I don’t think it is logical to argue that you have a right to keep and bear arms, but that doesn’t stop “the government” from banning the manufacture and sale of all of those arms as nuisances.

    • Exactly. My concern is that this will affect not just New York state but the rest of the nation because if N.Y. can sue any gun manufacturer anywhere because a gun they made was used in a crime in N.Y. then it will have a chilling affect on all gun manufacturers EVERYWHERE. And you know darn well that N.Y. juries will start handing down dozens of multi-million dollar verdicts against gun manufacturers.

      I think the appropriate response will be a challenge in the U.S. Supreme Court OR for a tort lawyer dominated state legislature in a liberal state (aren’t they all?) to apply the same standard of product culpability to automobiles or other manufactured goods used in the commission of a crime. Then Wall Street and the titans of industry would be awakened to the insanity of this.

  11. Can General Motors and all other auto manufacturers be sued every time a GM car is at fault when there is a speeding driver or a drunk driver behind the wheel of one of their vehicles (30,000+ deaths and many times that many injuries of innocents each year). Both those acts are crimes, so I guess it should apply in those cases as well. That makes as much sense as holding gun manufacturers responsible for the crimes of gun owners.

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