It hasn’t been a great week for progressive statists, who are learning that the Constitution doesn’t grant them the broad powers they thought it did — and that activists judges have allowed for too long. Like cornered animals, they’re wildly flailing and lashing out.
The meltdown started after the United States Supreme Court struck down New York’s concealed carry law one week ago, ruling that “New York’s ‘proper cause’ requirement to obtain a concealed-carry license violates the Constitution by preventing law-abiding citizens with ordinary self-defense needs from exercising their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms in public for self-defense.” Of course, that did not make New York Attorney General Letitia James very happy, and she promised to “do something.”
On Wednesday, the recently-smacked-down AG did something, announcing a lawsuit against 10 companies that sell unfinished firearms components, accusing them of being “gun distributors…selling weapons to felons and others without a background check” and blaming them for flooding New York’s streets with “illegal ghost guns that harmed New Yorkers.” New York City Mayor Eric Adams filed his own federal lawsuit against five of the same companies.
Because, as we all know, gang bangers are spending their spare time manufacturing their own guns from frames and receivers. You know, because that takes no specialized skill or equipment.
Just kidding. If they made their own guns, those guns would most likely misfire and be completely dangerous.
New York Attorney General Letitia James and New York City Mayor Eric Adams are suing 10 companies that produce “ghost guns,” which are unregistered guns that are typically assembled from a kit and are difficult to trace https://t.co/C8tQC15n1Y pic.twitter.com/m02h8KLOF0
— Bloomberg Quicktake (@Quicktake) June 29, 2022
James’ lawsuit is partially based on the invocation of the Public Nuisance law:
Attorney General James brings six claims against the distributors and invokes the Public Nuisance law for the first time. Under the Public Nuisance claim, Attorney General James asserts that these distributors have endangered the safety and health of the public by selling and bringing dangerous and illegal products into New York and by failing to adopt reasonable controls and procedures to prevent their products from falling into improper hands.
In James’ press conference she told those who believe her lawsuit is based on political animus and not the law that she’d see them in court. One Second Amendment advocacy group, Firearms Policy Coalition, responded to James (and Adams) in a letter Thursday morning, warning that she should drop the lawsuits or that they, indeed, would see her in court.
The letter is a work of art, and must be read in its entirety.
Dearest Attorney General James and Mayor Adams,
Your respective related lawsuits directed against ten private purveyors of lawful products have come to our attention. It appears you are seeking to use an over-broad New York regulatory scheme, combined with a tortured and incorrect reading of federal law, to unconstitutionally and immorally steal the profits and livelihoods of individuals across this nation. We felt it might be helpful to remind you of your place.
For one—and this might take you by surprise—the truth is that you simply cannot control the actions of people that are not subject to your respective jurisdictions.
These lawsuits are brought against groups of honest, hard-working people who have complied with federal law, and the law of their jurisdictions. Just as we cannot force you to remember our birthday, you cannot force people outside of your jurisdiction to play by your rules. There is simply no power to do so in either instance.
We understand that, for a time, New York City was the de-facto capital of this nation. We’re sure this is an immense point of pride, but that temporary honor ended in 1790. Two-hundred and thirty-two years ago. It’s time to let go.
With it established that you are neither Attorney General nor Mayor (nor Premiere), respectively, of this nation, we must further remind you that you cannot rewrite nearly a thousand years of common law precedent by simply deeming conduct a “public nuisance” with the stroke of a pen. It may have some effect in your back yard, but not in ours.
In your June 29 press conference, you responded to a reasonable concern that your lawsuits were based neither in fact or law, but merely political animus, by smugly stating “see you in court.” Many would call this bullying, and find it unbecoming of public officials. We, on the other hand, very much enjoy standing up to bullies like you. And States and municipalities don’t get to opt out of the Constitution. With that said, you should end your assault on fundamental rights and property now—before we “see you in court” and a federal court once again reminds you of your place.
The letter is signed by FPC’s policy counsel, Matthew Larosiere. FPC’s not the type of organization to issue such a warning and not follow up, so what comes next should be interesting.