Following New York’s Milestone Legislation, Momentum is Building to Hold Gun Industry Accountable
Earlier Today, Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action Volunteers Joined Governor Newsom for the Announcement and Are Available for Interviews
SAN DIEGO – Earlier today Governor Newsom, Attorney General Rob Bonta, Assemblymember Phil Ting, Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, and Assemblymember Chris Ward hosted a press conference hailing a legislative package to allow Californians to hold the firearm industry responsible for their misconduct.
“California lawmakers have long been the leaders of the gun violence prevention movement and today’s announcement continues that work,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action and California resident. “The gun industry should take note of another much needed wake-up call from our state leaders today: act recklessly or illegally, and you’ll be held accountable in court. Our grassroots volunteers are proud to support this legislative package and eager to help get it passed into law this session.”
“For far too long, the gun industry has operated without any consequences for its reckless and dangerous business practices – but today’s announcement is the first step of ending that,” said Kasey Zahner, a volunteer leader with Moms Demand Action in San Diego. “Keeping these companies accountable is crucial to changing their practices and ending gun violence in our state. Moms Demand Action is proud to stand with Governor Newsom in this work. We are eager to see this legislative package continue through the legislature and look forward to celebrating it back on the Governor’s desk.”
The news follows Tuesday’s announcement that nine families of people shot and killed in the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Connecticut reached a $73 million settlement in their lawsuit against Remington, a gun manufacturer which made the firearm used in the shooting. As reported by the New York Times, the settlement “represents a significant setback to the firearm industry because the lawsuit, by employing a novel strategy, pierced the vast shield [the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, or PLCAA] enshrined in federal law protecting gun companies from litigation.”
Last session, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers in New York were a key component in enacting a first-in-the-nation bill allowing victims of gun violence to seek justice for negligent, unreasonable and, in some cases, illegal conduct perpetrated by the gun industry — an industry that for years has been shielded from litigation by PLCAA.
The New York law and the California legislation both serve as an important roadmap for other states on the next steps in the fight for gun violence prevention — creating opportunities to ensure accountability from an industry that has skirted the kind of major litigation that brought reform to the tobacco, opioid, and automobile industries, a luxury that has for too long enabled bad actors to continue operating with impunity, causing harm in communities across California.