On Thursday, a lawsuit was filed against New York Attorney General Letitia James (D-N.Y.) over the state’s “public nuisance law,” which allows private citizens to sue gun stores and gun manufacturers if their weapons are used in an unrelated crime, CNN reports.
The law, signed into law in July, is the first of its kind in the nation, making gun stores and manufacturers liable in any civil suits that may result from firearms being used to commit crimes, even if the distributors had no role in the crime itself. It was deliberately signed as an attempt to circumvent the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, a federal law which specifically granted immunity to arms manufacturers and distributors in such cases.
The lawsuit was filed by some of the most prominent gun manufacturers in the country, including Smith & Wesson, Glock, SIG Sauer, Beretta, Ruger & Company, and Sturm. Naming Attorney General James as a defendant, the suit says that she “expressly acknowledged that the law was enacted as the New York legislature’s attempt to override the federal statutory scheme.” As such, the state law is an effort to “replace the will of Congress and impede lawful commerce outside of New York’s borders.” The lawsuit requests the courts to issue a preliminary injunction, forbidding James and New York State authorities from enforcing the law.
James issued her own statement vowing to “aggressively defend this law.”
“Once again,” her statement read, “the gun lobby is trying to exert total control over this country and thwart common-sense efforts to protect lives.”