Court Blocks New Jersey Law That Allows State to Prosecute Gun Industry!
A federal judge invalidated a New Jersey bill on Tuesday that would have allowed the state’s attorney general to bring lawsuits against gun makers and sellers for jeopardizing public safety, concluding that it violated a federal statute shielding the gun industry from such claims.
The statute cannot be enforced due to the preliminary injunction issued by U.S. District Judge Zahid Quraishi in Trenton, New Jersey. At the same time, the judge evaluates a legal challenge made by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), an organization representing the gun industry.
It happened a day after a different judge partially overturned a foreign gun control law in the state. “NSSF wholeheartedly welcomes this decision,” said Mark Oliva, a spokesperson for the group.
Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey expressed disappointment and confidence that the decision would be overturned on appeal, according to a representative for the governor.
The now-blocked law, which was passed last June in response to a U.S. Supreme Court decision expanding gun rights, allows the state attorney general to file lawsuits against gun manufacturers and sellers for allegedly endangering public health and safety through the use of risky marketing tactics or by failing to stop illegal trafficking.
The federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act of 2005 (PLCAA), which protects gun manufacturers and dealers from being held liable for crimes committed with firearms they legally sold, was determined to be in “direct conflict” with Quraishi’s findings.
The PLCAA has generally prevented attempts to hold the firearms industry lawfully accountable for gun violence. Monday’s decision represents a preliminary test of several Democratic-led states’ attempts to circumvent its protection.
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The NSSF is also contesting related statutes in Delaware and New York, where it failed in its initial effort to stop enforcement. Politicians in the United States have long been divided on the issue of gun regulation, with Democrats supporting it and Republicans opposing it.
The first bipartisan national gun safety bill in 30 years was approved by Democratic President Joe Biden last June due to mass shootings in Texas and New York that claimed the lives of over 30 people, including 19 elementary school students.