After last weekend’s shooting in New York City's Time Square liberal lawmakers wasted little time in calling for additional gun control measures, despite the fact that the Big Apple has some of the strictest laws in gun ownership in the country.
Mayor Bill de Blasio called for Congress to enact additional gun control measures and said, “We need Congress to help us to stop the flow of guns into New York City.”
It is unclear if the gun used by alleged shooter 31-year-old Farrakhan Muhammad had been legally purchased, but it is unlikely as Muhammad had past run-ins with law enforcement, including an arrest last year on assault charges. With such a rap sheet Muhammad would have been unlikely to legally own a firearm.
Yet, for lawmakers, the answer seems to be to ban guns in general.
“I'm currently at the scene of the brazen act of gun violence in broad day light in Times Square," wrote New York State Senator Brad Hoylman ( D-27th District) on Saturday. "This latest outrage is a stark reminder of the work immediately necessary to crack down on guns and gun trafficking in our city.”
Hoylman also cast blame not at Muhammad or other criminals in New York City, but rather at the firearms industry.
“We have to crack down on guns at the federal and state level,” he told CBS News New York. “We need to… ensure that gun manufacturers are held liable for these type of tragedies.”
Perhaps Hoylman has reason to be concerned, shootings are up 83 percent in New York compared to this time last year, but some context is needed. New York City was the epicenter of the novel coronavirus pandemic and was largely shut down with stay-at-home orders in place. Still, the spike in gun-related crimes is notable.
Democratic lawmakers in the Empire State have apparently heeded President Joe Biden’s calls and are seeking to bypass the federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act and are seeking to allow gun companies and other firearms-related businesses to be sued when a criminal misuses their product.
Biden made the dubious claim last month that gun makers could not be sued.
“Most people don't realize, the only industry in America, a billion-dollar industry, that can't be sued, exempt from being sued, are gun manufacturers,” Biden said during a Rose Garden address.
Now the comments are being echoed across New York, while some lawmakers are seeking to find a way to sue the companies—and possibly prove Biden wrong in the process.
State Sen. Zellnor Myrie (D-Brooklyn) authored a bill he said he believes would significantly extend the state's ability to challenge manufacturers whose products are used illegally.
Imagine if similar measures were put in place for automobiles—how quickly would the industry be driven out of business? In this case, it seems that is the point the lawmakers are trying to reach.
Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites. He regularly writes about military small arms, and is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on Amazon.com.