Andrew Cuomo, New York Governor, declared a gun emergency in the state on July 7 after signing an executive order. Speaking to a crowd in New York City, Cuomo also asserted that he would sign legislation that enables lawsuits against gun distributors, manufacturers, and dealers for how firearms are sold and marketed. 

Cuomo stated that the new law intended to end a “Trump-based federal loophole” that allowed people with active warrants to purchase guns. 

According to the statute, stakeholders from the industry can be held liable for unreasonably or illegally selling, distributing, and manufacturing firearms that can be harmful to the public as a “public nuisance” and for marketing and importing them. The statute also makes it mandatory for players in the gun industry to take steps against the illegal or unreasonable sale of firearms and limits false marketing.

When those conditions are violated, the statute also allows the local municipalities’ corporate counsel and the state attorney general to sue the stakeholders.

If private citizens endured damages because of “a gun industry member’s acts or omissions,” they could also be eligible to sue. 

On the Fourth of July weekend, Cuomo said there were at least 51 victims across New York, and 26 of them were shot in New York City. That number, he highlighted, is a 38 percent spike through the first six months of this year. He added that when the numbers are analyzed, the number of people dying from Covid-19 is fewer than gun violence and crime. 

Cuomo declared that we have moved from one epidemic to another — “from Covid-19 to gun violence, and the fear and the death that goes along with it.” In addition, he said that the legislation will cover what Washington didn’t, i.e., gun manufacturers will be held “legally liable for the death and destruction their businesses cause.”