N.Y. City Law Holds Gun Manufacturers and Dealers Liable to Victims Under Code of Conduct

January 7, 2005

The New York City Council has voted to toughen its gun safety laws with legislation that holds gun makers and dealers financially liable to victims of gun violence if the manufacturers or sellers violate a code of conduct.

“In order to keep it possible for a law-abiding citizen to legally own a handgun, we need to increase penalties for possessing illegal guns, crack down on irresponsible distributors and give law enforcement the tools to track these illegal guns down,” commented Councilor Peter Vallone, Jr.

The legislation makes a gun dealer liable for any injuries or death if the dealer fails to follow responsible sales practices such as selling only from a storefront location and not from a home, automobile or gun show; selling only one gun per individual within a 30-day period; and maintaining records of all sales. A gun manufacturer would also be liable if it sells a weapon to a dealer, knowing the dealer had sold 20 or more so-called “crime guns” during any 12-month period in the preceding five years.

Council member David Yassky called the measure “landmark” legislation. “By restricting gun dealers to a one gun per person over 30 days standard, we will prevent multiple sales by straw purchasers, the most common way guns get into the black market,” he maintained. “This provision will close the ‘firearms freeway’ of death merchants moving up and down Interstate 95 between southern states and New York, greatly reducing the flow of illegal guns into our city.”

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