BUFFALO, N.Y. -- In 2005, the Bush Administration signed the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act into law, which essentially prevented firearms manufacturers and dealers from being held liable when crimes are committed with their products.
"Only industry in the United States of America, only industry in the United States of America immune from lawsuits are the gun manufacturers, thanks to George Bush and the NRA," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
New York is instituting a law designed to get around that immunity by taking an advantage of an exception that holds the industry responsible in some cases for breaking state laws with regards to sales and marketing.
"New York is going to sign a law today the reinstates the public nuisance liability for gun manufacturers," Cuomo said Tuesday. "This is going to be a very big deal."
The legislation, which goes into effect immediately, amends the state's general business law to establish that members of the gun industry can not knowingly or recklessly create a situation that endangers public health. New York State Rifle and Pistol Association Executive Director Tom King said it is unfair.
"How do you hold somebody responsible for vicarious liability? So if somebody steals your car and they go out and kill somebody with your car, are you responsible for that?" King asked.
Cuomo said the federal law deterred manufacturers from instituting many important precautions. New York's law requires the industry to establish reasonable controls and procedures to prevent otherwise lawful products from being possessed, used or marketed for unlawful reasons.
"Politicians don't know how to control the crime that's going on in our major cities and they're looking for absolutely anything to blame rather than accepting the responsibilities themselves," King said.
He believes the state should not be trying to get around already established federal law.
"I think you're going to see a lot of lawsuits," King said. "I know we're looking at doing something. I know the NRA is investigating this very seriously. I'm sure there is going to be challenges to it."