June 14, 2023
NSSF Files Motion to Enjoin Unconstitutional California Firearm Industry Liability Law
WASHINGTON, D.C. — NSSF®, The Firearm Industry Trade Association, filed a motion for a preliminary injunction in its legal challenge, NSSF v. Bonta, seeking to enjoin California’s firearm industry liability law, AB 1594, that was passed last year and signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom. The unconstitutional law permits and encourages civil suits against members of the firearm industry for the damages caused by the actions of criminals. This law is an affront to the U.S. Constitution and abuses the judicial system in an attempt to circumvent the will of the U.S. Congress when it passed the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA). The law goes into effect July 23. NSSF’s motion to enjoin was filed by Clement & Murphy, PLLC.
NSSF’s motion argues that California’s firearm industry liability law is preempted by the federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) which was passed with bipartisan support in Congress and subsequently signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2005. The PLCAA was specifically enacted to stamp out frivolous lawsuits sought by activist politicians, gun control lawyers and greedy trial lawyers seeking to bankrupt the lawful firearm industry by blaming them and their lawfully-sold and non-defective products for the violence and harm caused by criminals who misuse firearms to commit their crimes.
“It’s no surprise California’s rabidly antigun General Assembly would pass and Governor Gavin Newsom would sign into law a blatantly unconstitutional attack on the lawful firearm industry instead of looking in the mirror to see how their own policies are leading to historic levels of criminal violence and endangering law-abiding and innocent Californians every day,” said NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel Lawrence G. Keane. “NSSF will not stand by and allow the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans, or the Constitutional protections of the industry that provides the means of exercising those rights, to be trampled upon while criminals committing acts of violence are handled with kid gloves by soft-on-crime prosecutors. California’s industry liability law is in blatant defiance of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Bruen and is preempted by the PLCAA. NSSF will continue to defend our constitutionally-protected industry against the broadsides of Governor Newsom and his extremist antigun agenda.”
NSSF’s challenge explains that AB 1594 is a law that was drafted prior to the Bruen decision and signed just weeks after the Supreme Court published the landmark ruling. Rather than re-examining the legislation to ensure it complied with Supreme Court precedent, Gov. Newsom dismissed the Court’s decision and forged ahead, challenging the ruling when he signed it.
In addition to the firearm industry liability provision, California’s AB 1594 bans the manufacture, sale and marketing of firearms the state deems “abnormally dangerous” regardless of if they are commonly-owned. It allows civil lawsuits against a firearm industry member to be filed by a person who has suffered harm in California, the Attorney General, or even city or county attorneys for the harm caused by the criminal misuse of a firearm by a remote third party. The law unconstitutionally invades the sovereignty of sister states by directly regulating lawful commerce occurring entirely and wholly outside the state of California in violation of the Commerce Clause and the United States’ system of federalism.
Further, the law not only infringes on Second Amendment rights but 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.
NSSF is the trade association for the firearm industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the 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.