New York, NY — Wednesday Brady, Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, and New Yorkers Against Gun Violence applauded a decision by a federal court in New York 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.
The law, which was sponsored by Senator Zellnor Myrie and Assemblymember Patricia Fahy and signed into law last year, 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 possessessed, used, marketed, or sold unlawfully.
The gun industry trade association, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), led a lawsuit with fourteen gun companies challenging the law, which was defended by Attorney General Letitia James.
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 and in support of AG James. Wednesday, the court upheld the law and dismissed the gun industry’s lawsuit.
“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 Senator 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. 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. This dismissal should signal to all states that New York’s bold, first-of-its-kind law is constitutional and common-sense. Brady thanks Attorney General James for aggressively defending this important law to ensure that victims and survivors of gun violence have access to justice and confirm that no industry is above the law.”
“For too long the gun industry has acted as if it was above the law,” said David Pucino, Deputy Chief Counsel, Giffords Law Center. “With every shooting these companies would disclaim responsibility, find someone or something else to blame, and hide behind procedural barriers to avoid accountability. When New York enacted a law requiring reasonable safety precautions and prohibiting irresponsible behavior, they once again tried to avoid responsibility by challenging the law before it had ever been used. Today’s decision is a loss for gun companies trying to avoid accountability, and a victory for the rule of law.”
“Every eleven hours, we lose another New Yorker to a gun,” said Rebecca Fischer, Executive Director, New Yorkers Against Gun Violence. “Those we have lost, their families, and the survivors who must carry the physical and emotional trauma for the rest of their lives are owed more than can ever be paid. They deserve their day in court. Thanks to the work of our lawmakers, especially Senator Myrie, Assemblymember Fahy, Leader Stewart-Cousins, and Speaker Heastie, and the tireless advocacy of Attorney General James, today’s decision will provide those New Yorkers a path to some form of justice, and it puts irresponsible gun companies on notice: justice is coming.”