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Glock, Smith & Wesson Sue N.Y. AG James Over Gun Liability Law

Dec. 16, 2021, 8:36 PM

Glock Inc., Beretta U.S.A. Corp., Smith & Wesson Brands Inc. and other gun makers filed a federal lawsuit challenging a controversial New York statute that gives the state the ability to sue firearms manufacturers and sellers over gun violence.

The companies, along with the National Shooting Sports Foundation, allege in a suit filed Thursday in federal court in Syracuse that New York passed the law in July with the “express purpose” of circumventing Congress and trying to regulate tens of thousands of businesses operating in every state.

The gun companies allege the law clashes with the federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act of 2005, which prohibits most lawsuits against firearms manufacturers over violence by people who use their products. Several legal attempts by New York to sue the industry have failed.

The suit, filed against New York Attorney General Letitia James, alleges the state “is now trying to accomplish through legislation what it was unable to accomplish through litigation.”

James, a Democrat who has frequently clashed with the gun industry and is suing to dissolve the National Rifle Association over allegations of financial fraud, said she’ll fight the suit.

“Once again, the gun lobby is trying to exert total control over this country and thwart common-sense efforts to protect lives,” James said. “Make no mistake: We will aggressively defend this law and won’t back down against their continued attempts to endanger New Yorkers.”

James also took aim at the 2005 federal law, saying Congress had usurped state rights and given gun manufacturers and distributors “blanket immunity for gun violence perpetrated as a direct result of their marketing and distribution of firearms.”

Other companies in the New York suit include Sig Sauer Inc. and Central Texas Gun Works LLC.

The case is National Shooting Sports Foundation Inc. v. James, 1:21-cv-01348, U.S. District Court Northern District of New York (Syracuse).

To contact the reporter on this story:
Erik Larson in New York at elarson4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Katia Porzecanski at kporzecansk1@bloomberg.net

Steve Stroth

© 2021 Bloomberg L.P. All rights reserved. Used with permission.