City of New York v. Beretta U.S.A. Corp.

Decision Date30 April 2008
Docket NumberDocket No. 05-6942-cv (LEAD).,Docket No. 06-3695-cv (XAP).,Docket No. 06-3692-cv (CON).,Docket No. 05-6964-cv (XAP).
Citation524 F.3d 384
PartiesCITY OF NEW YORK, Plaintiff-Appellee-Cross-Appellant, Michael R. Bloomberg,<SMALL><SUP>*</SUP></SMALL> Mayor of the City of New York, Christine C. Quinn,<SMALL><SUP>**</SUP></SMALL> Speaker of the New York City Council, New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation, Plaintiffs-Appellees, United States of America, Intervenor, v. BERETTA U.S.A. CORP., Browning Arms Co., Colt's Mfg. Co., Inc., Forjas Taurus, S.A., Glock Inc., Phoenix Arms, Sigarms, Inc., Smith & Wesson Corp., Sturm, Ruger and Co., Inc., Taurus International Manufacturing, Inc., Sigarms Sauer GmbH, f/k/a J.P. Sauer & Sohn Inc., Tanfoglio Fratelli S.R.L., Williams Shooters Supply, Walter Craig, Inc., Valor Corp., Sports South, Inc., Southern Ohio Gun, Inc., RSR Group, Inc., Ron Shirk's Shooters' Supplies, Inc., Riley's Inc., Supply, Inc., Lipsey's, Inc., Lew Horton Distribution Co., Kiesler Police Supply Inc., Hicks, Inc., Glen Zanders Fur and Sporting Goods, Co., Faber Brothers, Inc., Euclid Avenue Sales, Ellett Brothers, Inc., Dixie Shooters Supply, Inc., Davidson's Supply Company, Inc., Chattanooga Shooting Supplies, Inc., Camfour, Inc., Brazas Sporting Arms, Inc., Bill Hicks & Company, Bangers, L.P., Alamo Leather Goods, Inc., AcuSport Corporation, Defendants-Appellants-Cross-Appellees, B.L. Jennings, Inc., Bryco Arms, Inc., Carl Walther GmbH, FMJ, a/k/a Full Metal Jacket, Glock GmbH, H & R 1871, Inc., Hi-Point Firearms, Navegar Inc., d/b/a Intratec USA, Inc., O.F. Mossberg and Sons, Inc., Pietro Beretta SP.A, Rossi, S.A., John Doe Manufacturers 1-100, China North Industries Corporation, a/k/a Norinco, Remington Arms Co. Inc., Charco 2000, Inc., Llama Gabilondo Y Cia, Marlin Firearms Co., Savage Arms, Inc., U.S. Repeating Arms Co., Inc., Scott Wholesale Co., Inc., Manufacturer Defendants, Distributor Defendants, Manufacturer and Distributor Defendants, Defendants, Joan Truman Smith, Interested-Party, John F. Curran, Interested Party.
CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — Second Circuit

Michael A. Cardozo, Corporation Counsel of the City of New York (Leonard Koerner, Grace Goodman, Eric Proshansky, June Buch, Gail Rubin, Richard J. Costa, Melanie C.T. Ash, of counsel), New York, NY, for Plaintiff-Appellee-Cross-Appellant, the City of New York.

Michael S. Elkin, Thomas P. Lane, Thelen, Reid & Priest LLP, New York, NY, for Plaintiff-Appellee-Cross-Appellant, the City of New York.

Dennis A. Henigan, Jonathan E. Lowy, Brian J. Siebel, Elizabeth S. Haile, Daniel Vice, Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, Washington, DC, for Plaintiff-Appellee-Cross-Appellant, the City of New York.

Robert S. Peck, Center for Constitutional Litigation, Washington, DC, for Plaintiff-Appellee-Cross-Appellant, the City of New York.

Paul R.Q. Wolfson, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP, Washington, DC, for Plaintiff-Appellee-Cross-Appellant, the City of New York.

Elliot M. Schachner, for Benton J. Campbell, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, (Varuni Nelson, Assistant United States Attorney, of counsel), Brooklyn, NY, for Intervenor, the United States of America.

Beth S. Brinkman, Seth M. Galanter (Brian R. Matsui, on the brief), Morrison & Foerster LLP, Washington, DC, for Amici Curiae Legal Community Against Violence, Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence, and The Violence Policy Center.

Stephen D. Poss, P.C., Kevin P. Martin, Randall B. Clark, Nicholas D. Gray, Christina E. Nolan, Michael P. Sugrue, Michael C. Winfield, Goodwin Proctor LLP, Boston, MA, for Amicus Curiae NRA Civil Rights Defense Fund.

Andrew Cuomo, Attorney General of the State of New York (Caitlin J. Halligan, Solicitor General, Daniel Smirlock, Deputy Solicitor General, Jennifer Grace Miller, Assistant Solicitor General, of counsel), Albany, NY, for Amicus Curiae New York State Attorney General.

Before: MINER, CABRANES, and KATZMANN, Circuit Judges.

Judge KATZMANN dissents in a separate opinion.

MINER, Circuit Judge:

Defendants-appellants-cross-appellees, manufacturers and wholesale sellers of firearms ("Firearms Suppliers"), appeal from so much of an order entered in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York (Weinstein, J.) as denies their motion, grounded on the claim restriction provisions of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, for dismissal of the complaint. In the complaint, plaintiff-appellee-cross-appellant, the City of New York (the "City"), seeks injunctive relief to inhibit the diversion of firearms into illegal markets. The District Court determined that the Act did not violate the United States Constitution, and that the Act's statutory exception for claims based on the violation of a state statute applicable to the sale or marketing of firearms is met by New York's criminal nuisance statute. The City cross appeals from so much of the above-described order as rejects, in accordance with the position taken by intervenor United States of America, various constitutional challenges to the Act raised by the City. Because we conclude that the PLCAA (1) bars the instant action and (2) represents a permissible exercise of Congress's power under the Commerce Clause, we affirm the order of the District Court in part and reverse in part.

BACKGROUND
I. Introduction

The action giving rise to this appeal was commenced on June 20, 2000, when the City filed a complaint against the Firearms Suppliers seeking injunctive relief and abatement of the alleged public nuisance caused by the Firearms Suppliers' distribution practices. The City claimed that the Firearms Suppliers market guns to legitimate buyers with the knowledge that those guns will be diverted through various mechanisms into illegal markets. The City also claimed that the Firearms Suppliers fail to take reasonable steps to inhibit the flow of firearms into illegal markets. On October 2, 2001, the action was stayed due to issues arising from the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center. The initial stay of sixty days was continued pending the outcome of an appeal proceeding in state court involving the same claims for relief sought by the State of New York against most of the defendants in this action. See Spitzer v. Sturm, Ruger & Co., Inc., 309 A.D.2d 91, 761 N.Y.S.2d 192, 194-95, leave to appeal...

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