Attorney General Tong Joins Coalition Supporting Accountability for Firearms Industry
(Hartford, CT) – Attorney General William Tong has joined a coalition of 18 attorneys general supporting a New York law to hold the firearms industry accountable. In an amicus brief, the coalition argues that New York has the authority to protect residents and public safety.
The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York dismissed a lawsuit brought by several members of the firearms industry against New York, arguing that the statute is preempted by federal law and is unconstitutional. The coalition is now asking the appellate court to affirm the lower court’s ruling, which found that the law is not preempted by the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act — a federal law that limits civil remedies against gun industry members for harms caused solely by the misconduct of individuals who use firearms.
New York enacted its statute to hold gun industry members accountable for the irresponsible sale and marketing of firearms when that conduct results in harm to the public. Under the law, public officials or private citizens can file a lawsuit against a gun industry member when they knowingly or recklessly endanger the safety or health of the public in New York state through the unlawful or unreasonable sale, manufacturing, importing, or marketing of firearms. Gun industry members can also be held liable when they fail to use reasonable controls and procedures to prevent firearms from being unlawfully used or sold in New York state.
“Gun manufacturers who deceive consumers, irresponsibly market dangerous products, and violate state consumer protection laws must be held accountable. That’s what the Connecticut Supreme Court correctly held when it opened the door to holding a gun manufacturer responsible for the tragedy at Sandy Hook. Connecticut stands with New York in supporting its right to protect its residents from gun violence,” said Attorney General Tong.
The coalition argues that New York’s statute is lawful and benefits the public. As the brief explains, empirical evidence suggests a direct link between the harmful effects of gun violence and the irresponsible actions of gun industry members, such as dealers failing to enact reasonable controls to prevent straw purchasing or manufacturers designing novel marketing schemes to target vulnerable youth. New York’s law serves the important purpose of deterring gun industry members from engaging in irresponsible practices that actively contribute to increasing gun violence and, where necessary, holds those who engage in such tactics accountable for their actions.
Joining Attorney General Kwame Raoul, who led the coalition, and Attorney General Tong in the filing the brief are the attorneys general of California, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin.
To read the full brief, click here.