Myrie hails passage of gun industry liability bill in State Legislature

Voting Reforms
New York State Senator Zellnor Myrie, D-Brooklyn, attends a news conference where Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill to allow for advance voting, Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019, in New York.
Associated Press/Mark Lennihan, file

Brooklyn Democratic Sen. Zellnor Y. Myrie on Tuesday celebrated the passage of a measure in both houses of the New York State Legislature aimed at the gun industry’s immunity from civil lawsuits stemming from the dangers posed by its products.

“Today’s vote makes New York the first state in the nation to put the communities victimized by gun industry negligence ahead of that industry’s profits and shareholders,” said Myrie, representative for the 20th Senate District in Central Brooklyn, who sponsored the legislation in the Senate.

“In 2005, the federal government granted near-blanket protection against civil lawsuits to gun dealers, manufacturers and distributors. As a result, the courthouse doors are closed to anyone seeking to probe the reckless, dangerous and irresponsible practices of the gun industry’s worst actors, who we know are responsible for the overwhelming majority of firearms that end up on our streets,” he added.

Myrie said neighborhoods like Brownsville, Crown Heights and East Flatbush were granted no such protection.

“For that, our people — especially young people of color — have too often paid with their lives,” he said. “Responsible gun companies do not need special legal protections from lawsuits. Irresponsible gun companies do not deserve them.

“Our goal in passing this legislation is to incentivize responsible behavior in the marketplace, and encourage the gun industry to enact the strongest possible safeguards against illegal purchases, gun trafficking and other actions that allow their products to end up on our streets,” Myrie continued.

“Today’s victory would not have been possible without the tireless dedication and commitment of our partners and allies, especially Assemblymember Patricia Fahy, who led the charge in the other house,” he said.

Most important, the senator said Tuesday’s vote is “dedicated to victims of gun violence and their families who live in communities like mine.

“It is their needs, their safety and their well-being that we in public life have an obligation to protect, and it is in their honor that I urge the governor (Andrew Cuomo) to sign this bill,” Myrie said.

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