(Reuters) – A federal judge on Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit filed by a group of gun manufacturers, distributors and retailers questioning the constitution of a New York law that allows the state and people affected by gun violence to sue the industry.
U.S. District Judge Mae D’Agostino of Albany dismissed a request from the National Shooting Sports Foundation and gun manufacturers, including Smith & Wesson Brands Inc. and Sturm, Ruger & Co. Inc., to impose enforcement of the Charter.
The verdict came a day after an armed man killed 19 children and two adults at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, the latest in a stream of mass shootings, prompting renewed calls from Democrats for tougher gun rules.
New York Justice Minister Letitia James, a Democrat, in a statement called the verdict “a moment of light and hope”; after the Uvalde tragedy and a mass shooting last week in a grocery store in Buffalo that claimed 10 lives.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation, an industry group for the firearms industry, said in a statement that they were disappointed and planned to appeal. Others who agreed with it were Glock Inc. and Beretta USA.
Former New York Democratic governor Andrew Cuomo signed a law in July last year aimed at overcoming legal hurdles that have largely protected the industry from gun-related lawsuits.
The law allows sellers, manufacturers and distributors of firearms to sue the state, cities or individuals for creating a “public nuisance” that endangers public safety and health.
The arms industry group claimed that the law incorrectly imposes liability on companies operating anywhere in the country that manufacture, sell or market weapons or ammunition abused by criminals in New York.
However, Judge D’Agostino rejected the argument that the measure was in conflict with the law on the protection of the legal trade in arms, which gives arms makers protection from lawsuits and unconstitutionally regulated intergovernmental trade.
Judge D’Agostino said the law “is in no way different from the extraterritorial effect of the myriad of security laws and regulations that every industry must follow.”