Police State/Civil Liberties

Andrew Cuomo Declares a Gun Violence ‘Disaster Emergency’ and Signs a Bill That Invites Lawsuits Against Firearm Suppliers

By Jacob Sullum, Reason

New York’s new law seems to conflict with a federal statute that protects manufacturers and dealers from liability for gun crimes.

Early in the COVID-19 pandemic last year, New York’s legislature authorized Gov. Andrew Cuomo to issue “any directive” he deemed “necessary to cope with the disaster.” Second Amendment supporters should be thankful that the legislature rescinded that authority a year later, since the Democratic governor yesterday declared that gun violence in New York qualifies as a “disaster emergency.”

Under current law, that executive order, which Cuomo proudly described as “the first-in-the-nation gun violence disaster emergency,” still allows him to “temporarily suspend” laws and regulations “if compliance with such provisions would prevent, hinder, or delay action necessary to cope with the disaster.” Cuomo is using that authority to suspend statutory restrictions on “contracts, leases, licenses, permits or any other written agreements that may be entered into for purposes of mitigating” the emergency he declared. He also is relying on that statute to require that the state’s Division of Criminal Justice Services collect data on “shooting incidents, shooting victims and individuals killed by gun violence” from police departments in certain cities and counties every week rather than every month.

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