On Tuesday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that new state law would allow the state Attorney General, Letitia James, to sue the gun industry based on public nuisance statutes.
Cuomo and James claim that they would uphold the new law. However, Mark Oliva from the National Shooting Sports Foundation mentions that the state is clearly doing something in conflict with the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. The said law passed in 2005 via a bipartisan vote in Congress of the same year. It bars lawsuits against the firearms industry. This applies if the said lawsuit blames the industry for the actions made by criminals. This is exactly what the new New York statute intends to do.
Cuomo Has History of Trying to Bleed Gun Industry Dry
Ironically, as Oliva points out, Cuomo himself helped create the 2005 law because of his knack for using junk lawsuits to bankrupt the gun industry during his time as HUD secretary in the Clinton Administration. He knew such lawsuits did not have to win for anti-gun activists to come out as a success. Cuomo actually intended to slowly bleed dry both gun makers and sellers. He did so by forcing them to hire attorneys and cash out for legal fees.
If gun businesses didn’t want to fight, they can choose the other option: Settlement. One example of such a case involved Smith & Wesson in 2000. The said company acquiesced to a litany of demands gun control groups have supplied.
Eliot Spitzer, New York’s Attorney General during Cuomo’s time at HUD, felt equally enamored of the strategy. He allegedly warned one Glock executive that bankruptcy lawyers will knock at their doors if they don’t follow Smith & Wesson’s lead.
Because of the consumer hostility towards the leaders of Smith & Wesson signing the agreement, the company went out of business. New Management bought the brand a few years later.
The new New York statute clearly serves as one of the many threats the firearms industry currently faces. However, Oliva seems to feel confident that the NSSF’s looming legal challenge can overturn the new Law before James can use it against the gun industry and the Second Amendment itself.