REPORT: New Blue State Law Enables Attorney General To Sue Gun Manufacturers

Photo by Thayne Tuason/ Via WikiMedia Commons

Jeff Charles Contributor
Font Size:

A new Maryland law granting the attorney general and lawyers representing counties and Baltimore City the ability to file lawsuits against gun companies has reportedly taken effect.

House Bill 947, which took effect on Saturday, empowers these entities to sue gun manufacturers or sellers if they knowingly cause harm by selling, manufacturing, distributing, importing or marketing a firearm-related product in an “unlawful” or “unreasonable” manner, according to WYPR.

David Pucino, legal director at the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, discussed two cases in New Jersey that serve as examples of how the law could apply to certain businesses. One of the cases involved a company that sold products related to “Ghost Guns,” which are firearms that do not have serial numbers. (RELATED: Maryland Saw A Seven-Fold Increase In Concealed Carry Permit Applications After SCOTUS Decision)

“There was a company that was selling ghost guns, not in New Jersey, but in Pennsylvania, knowing very well that those guns were going to be immediately trafficked across the border into New Jersey and then used in crime in New Jersey,” Pucino told WYPR.

The other example was a gun store that failed to lock up its firearms at night. The store was later vandalized and the guns were stolen. “Those guns are still popping up on the streets in connection with crime in New Jersey,” the lawyer said.

On the other side of the argument, Mark Pennak, president of the gun rights organization Maryland Shall Issue, argued the measure violates the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which shields gun companies from being held liable if one of their products is used to commit a crime.

“You see some cases being brought where the allegation is that the retailer should have known and should have trained his employees to recognize that this particular purchase, although passing a background check and otherwise was a legal purchase, we should have known that this person was going to use the firearm for illegal purpose,” Pennak asserted. “That’s insane. No one can possibly abide by that.”

Donna Worthy, owner of a gun retailer in Anne Arundel County, pointed out that the new law is unnecessary. “If I do something wrong, I can be put in jail immediately,” she said. “There’s already [laws] in place to get rid of the bad actors. This bill simply goes after everybody, the good and the bad.”