N.Y. Today: Gun Makers Could Be Sued More Easily

What you need to know for Wednesday.

Gun Makers Could Be Sued More Easily Under New York Bill

By Troy Closson

Metro

It's Wednesday.

Weather: Early sprinkles, followed by mixed clouds and sun, then heavy storms in the afternoon. High around 90.

Alternate-side parking: In effect until June 19 (Juneteenth).

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Scott Heins/Getty Images

New York is on the brink of major changes for gun companies.

On Tuesday, state lawmakers passed a bill that would allow civil lawsuits against firearm manufacturers and dealers who make or sell guns illegally or inappropriately. Under federal law, they retain far-reaching immunity.

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"This bill stands for a pretty simple proposition," said State Senator Zellnor Myrie, who introduced the legislation and is pictured above. "If you are a member of the gun industry and you are conducting business in a reckless or unsafe way, that has consequences for the kids in Brownsville, in Crown Heights, in Rochester."

Here's what to know:

The details

The move, which would take effect immediately if it is signed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, was intended to hold dealers and manufacturers accountable for the smuggling of illegal weapons into the state, supporters told my colleague Luis Ferré-Sadurní. It would create pressure to prevent the theft or illegal sale of guns, supporters said.

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Handguns originally purchased outside of New York, often from neighboring states with weak gun laws, have accounted for a large percentage of the guns recovered from crimes in some previous years, according to the state attorney general.

Still, Republican lawmakers and members of the gun industry strongly opposed the legislation, arguing that it would not address root causes of gun violence.

The context

The move could prompt other states to follow suit, including New Jersey, where Gov. Phil Murphy has indicated he supports a similar proposal. President Biden, too, has recently revoiced support for repealing the federal statute that provides gun manufacturers broad immunity from lawsuits brought by gun violence victims and their relatives.

The new legislation aims to take advantage of an exception in that statute, and would require gun companies to establish "reasonable controls" to prevent their guns from being used, marketed or sold illegally in New York. If companies break the law, individuals could seek damages, and the attorney general or cities could take legal action.

The other efforts

The push comes as Democrats drive forward a broad package of gun bills ahead of the end of the legislative session tomorrow. Those include a measure to crack down on realistic toy guns and legislation to make data on the origin of guns used in crimes more transparent.

From The Times

The Mini Crossword: Here is today's puzzle.

What we're reading

Staff members at city jails became eligible for the coronavirus vaccine about five months ago. But under a third of jail staff has received at least one dose. [Gothamist]

New York City approved new rules that scale back the use of solitary confinement in city jails. Advocates say the move does not go far enough. [The City]

Roughly 800 city educators without permanent teaching assignments will be placed in permanent roles starting next year, officials said. [Daily News]

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And finally: The music returns to Madison Square Garden

For the first time in more than 15 months, Madison Square Garden is gearing up to host a rock 'n' roll concert without social distancing, masks or capacity caps.

Foo Fighters will perform on June 20 for fans who are fully vaccinated. It will be the first full-capacity concert in a New York arena since March 2020.

Full-capacity concerts represent the latest sign of a return to cultural life in Manhattan. On Monday, Bruce Springsteen announced that "Springsteen on Broadway," the rock legend's autobiographical show, would come back for a limited run that begins performances at the St. James Theater on June 26.

Although most Broadway theaters and producers are still holding off on opening until after Labor Day, a drop in coronavirus cases and increasing vaccination rates have encouraged many producers and performers to accelerate their plans.

Fans have been able to attend N.B.A. playoff games at the Garden, where the New York Knicks play, with separate sections for fully vaccinated and unvaccinated fans. (The Knicks were eliminated last week, paving the way for concerts.)

Other concerts booked for Madison Square Garden include the Eagles in August, as well as the Mexican group Banda MS and the country duo Dan + Shay in September. Harry Styles will perform for five nights in October, and Billy Joel will resume his monthly residency in November. Concerts will return to Barclays Center in Brooklyn in September with Marc Anthony.

It's Wednesday — get ready to dance again.

Metropolitan Diary: Bethesda Terrace

Dear Diary:

I watched a yellow boa constrictor ride a hoverboard through Bethesda Terrace. It was draped across the tattooed shoulders of its owner, who was gliding along in slow figure eights.

To the right of the fountain, a toddler in a stroller crossed paths with a tiny dog strapped into a stroller of its own. Salsa dancers spun across the tiled plaza as an audience basked on sun-soaked benches.

Not one, but two pairs of newlyweds, arms cradled, posed for wedding photos. A cyclist whizzed by on a bedazzled bicycle. The blue gems matched his spandex. He braked beside me, pausing to take in the laughter and the sunlight.

— Annette Zenker

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