Bill Evading Federal Blockade on Lawsuits Against Gunmakers Nears Passage

Bill Evading Federal Blockade on Lawsuits Against Gunmakers Nears Passage

Ben Fractenberg/THE CITY State Senator Zellnor Myrie (D-Brooklyn) speaks in Crown Heights about holding gun manufacturers accountable for enabling weapons to enter New York, May 27, 2021. As shootings surge in the city, Albany lawmakers are taking aim at the companies that manufacture firearms, readying to make them legally liable for harm caused by the weapons. Its sponsors say New York would become the first state to explicitly allow lawsuits against gunmakers, countering a federal law that shields the gun industry from civil lawsuits. “I think that we have found a way, if this becomes law, to really force some accountability on this gun industry,” said state Sen. Zellnor Myrie (D-Brooklyn), who introduced the measure in the Senate. The two chambers of the state legislature have agreed to proceed to votes on a bill Myrie introduced, along with Assemblymember Patricia Fahy (D-Albany). An earlier version passed the Senate last week . Votes in both houses are expected before this year’s legislative session is scheduled to end on Thursday. A 2005 federal law known as the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) grants gun dealers and makers almost full immunity from civil lawsuits. President Joe Biden campaigned saying that he’d repeal the law and Democratic sponsors reintroduced a repeal measure this spring, but passage is a longshot in a Senate where the filibuster means bills need at least 60 out of 100 senators to pass. The law has essentially “shut down all attempts through litigation to hold gun […]

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