On July 6, 2021, Governor Cuomo signed Senate Bill 7196 (which is a revised version of Senate Bill 1048A) into law.  The express purpose of SB7196 is to bypass the immunity provided to members of the firearms industry by the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (“PLCAA”).  It does so by creating a broad statute applicable to the sale and marketing of firearms, that can be argued to satisfy the exception to the PLCAA for an action in which a manufacturer or seller knowingly violated such a statute if the violation was the proximate cause of the harm for which relief is sought (“predicate exception”). 

SB7196 prohibits anyone engaged in manufacturing, importing, marketing, or selling (“gun industry members) firearms, ammunition, and components for firearms and ammunition (“qualified products”) from knowingly or recklessly creating, maintaining or contributing to a condition in New York that endangers the safety or health of the public “by conduct either unlawful in itself or unreasonable under all of the circumstances.”  It also requires gun industry members who manufacture, market, import, or offer for wholesale or retail sale any qualified product in New York to establish reasonable controls and procedures to prevent their qualified products from being illegally possessed, used, marketed, or sold in New York.  Violation of either of these provisions is declared to be a public nuisance.

Based on the broad language of SB7196, a plaintiff could argue that almost any claim against a gun industry member arising from the unlawful or criminal misuse of a qualified product by a third party falls within the predicate exception to the PLCAA.  SB7196 gives the Attorney General, localities, and any “person, firm, corporation or association that has been damaged as a result of a gun industry member’s acts or omissions” in violation of SB7196 the right to sue for damages and injunctive relief.  SB7196 was immediately effective, and is likely to result in numerous lawsuits being filed against gun industry members that the PLCAA was intended to prohibit.

In addition to signing SB7196, Governor Cuomo issued Executive Order No. 211, declaring a state-wide disaster emergency due to gun violence.  This Executive Order directs the creation of the Office of Gun Violence Prevention and the Governor’s Council on Gun Violence Reduction.  It also suspends numerous statutes that would allegedly hamper the State’s ability to respond to this alleged gun violence disaster emergency.

If you have any questions regarding SB7196 or Executive Order 211, please contact John F. Renzulli or Christopher Renzulli