Legislature passes bill aimed at ending ‘Iron Pipeline’ of illegal guns

New York State

TINLEY PARK, IL – DECEMBER 17: A customer shops for a pistol at Freddie Bear Sports sporting goods store on December 17, 2012 in Tinley Park, Illinois. Americans purchased a record number of guns in 2012 and gun makers have reported a record high in demand. Firearm sales have surged recently as speculation of stricter gun laws and a re-instatement of the assault weapons ban following the mass school shooting in Connecticut . (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) – On Tuesday, the New York State Assembly passed first-in-the-nation legislation aimed at disrupting the ‘Iron Pipeline’, or flow of illegally trafficked firearms into New York from other states.

The new legislation will allow lawsuits against gun manufacturers that “sell firearms to gun dealers who either knowingly or negligently fuel the criminal market.”

A federal law, the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (“PLCAA”), protects firearms manufacturers and dealers from being held liable when crimes have been committed with their products. Assemblymember Patricia Fahy (D – Albany) and Senator Zellnor Myrie (D – Brooklyn) say the gun industry is the only industry to have complete protection from civil liability law in the United States. However, PLCAA contains a “predicate exception” stating that states can pass a statute to reinstate some liability.

According to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, 5% of gun dealers supply over 90% of illegal firearms recovered from violent crimes and shootings. By removing PLCAA’s liability immunity, it would allow gun companies to be held liable when they act unreasonably or recklessly, like when they choose to allow straw purchases, and bulk sales to traffickers.

As a result, gun manufacturers would be inclined to change their practice(s) and crack down on corrupt gun dealers.

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