California Slapped for Unconstitutional Law Allowing Frivolous Lawsuits Against Gun Lobby


Opinion

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WASHINGTON, D.C. –  NSSF®, The Firearm Industry Trade Association, applauded the decision by U.S. District Judge Andrew Schopler granting an injunction prohibiting the enforcement of California’s law that exposes firearm industry members to lawsuits in California for the lawful commerce in firearms that takes place entirely outside the state of California when those legally made and sold products end up being misused by criminals and others in California.

The ruling by Judge Schopler in the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of California enjoined the enforcement of California AB 1594, the so-called “Firearm Industry Responsibility Act.” NSSF sued to challenge the law in June of 2023 and moved for an injunction. In granting the injunction, Judge Schopler found the law is likely unconstitutional because it violates the Commerce Clause.

“We are thankful the court enjoined the state from suing members of the firearm industry under this unconstitutional law that attempts to use the real threat of liability on commerce beyond California’s borders and impose its policy choices on its Sister states,” stated NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel Lawrence G. Keane.

Among other provisions, California AB 1594 bans the manufacture, sale and marketing of firearms the state deems “abnormally dangerous.” It allows civil lawsuits against a firearm industry member to be filed by the Attorney General, any municipality and any person who claims to have suffered harm from the misuse of a legal, lawfully sold firearm by a remote third party. The law unconstitutionally invades the sovereignty of sister States by directly regulating lawful commerce occurring entirely outside the state of California in violation of the Commerce Clause and the United States’ system of federalism. The law also violates the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) enacted by Congress in 2005 to stop just these sorts of frivolous lawsuits against members of the industry.

Keane added, “We are reviewing the balance of the court’s decision and whether we will file an amended complaint to provide the court more details on how California’s unconstitutional law and its threat of crushing liability is causing real and ongoing harm to members of our industry.”

NSSF also claims in its lawsuit that the law also infringes on the Second Amendment and chills First Amendment rights by restricting protected free-speech advertising of Constitutionally-protected products that are lawfully made and sold – even when that advertising takes place outside of California’s borders.


About The National Shooting Sports Foundation

NSSF is the trade association for the firearm industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of thousands of manufacturers, distributors, firearm retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations, and publishers nationwide. For more information, visit nssf.org

National Shooting Sports FoundationNational Shooting Sports Foundation


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