A bill that is heading to Gov. Andrew Cuomo's desk that would make it easier to sue gun makers has the potential to bring changes to the firearms industry, advocates for gun control on Tuesday said.
The measure, approved at the end of the legislative session this month, is meant to crack down on illegal guns that enter the state and hold gun manufacturers liable for them in the process through civil proceedings. Gun rights supporters have argued the measure could have a cascade effect on other industries.
But advocates for tighter gun laws in New York pointed to other industries, like opioid manufacturers as well as tobacco and automobile makers, which have reformed themselves in the wake of lawsuits.
The bill was approved this month amid heightened gun violence in cities across the country and in New York, a state with already strict gun control laws. Advocates have long argued illegal weapons continue to enter the state through illicit means and transportation.
"For far too long, our laws have protected the worst actors in the gun industry from liability, while leaving communities from Brownsville to Buffalo exposed and vulnerable,” said Sen. Zellner Myrie, a Brooklyn Democrat who sponsored the bill. "Our legislation finally levels the playing field, and gives New Yorkers an opportunity to hold reckless gun companies accountable for their irresponsible actions. I'm grateful to my partner Assemblywoman Fahy, advocates like Everytown and Moms Demand Action, and the countless survivors and local groups who helped make this moment possible. I look forward to the governor signing this bill into law."
At the same time, state lawmakers who pushed for the bill in New York hope the measure could be replicated elsewhere in the country.
“We are again leading the country on common sense gun violence measures here in New York,” said Assemblywoman Pat Fahy. “New York’s first in the nation legislation will allow gun manufacturers who supply the flow of illegal guns into our communities from Upstate to downstate to be held accountable, and civilly liable for their misconduct."