Fresh off a 2A win at SCOTUS, Paul Clement has a new client: the firearms industry

Charles Dharapak

You might recall that just hours after attorneys Paul Clement and Erin Murphy heard the good news that the Supreme Court ruled in favor of their clients in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen the high-end law firm that employed them as partners gave them an edict: drop your gun-related clients or find another place to work.

Clement and Murphy parted ways with Kirkland and Ellis that same day and have started their own firm. Now the pair have added a big client to their roster, and are taking on a law that the firearms industry calls an “existential threat” to its existence. The National Shooting Sports Foundation announced that Clement & Murphy, PLLC, will be representing them in its appeal to the Second Circuit in its lawsuit challenging New York’s public nuisance statute, which was modified by Democrats in Albany to allow lawsuits against gun makers, distributers, and retailers for the criminal misuse of firearms that take place in New York, even when the sale occurred in another state, if all applicable laws were followed in the sale of the gun, or if the gun that was used was stolen.

Rather than abandon their clients in the midst of ongoing representations, Clement and Murphy continue to stand by their principles and defend their clients’ fundamental Constitutional rights. They wrote in the Wall Street Journal, “The American legal profession’s willingness to take on and stand by controversial clients has made our system of justice the envy of the world. The profession shouldn’t back down from its willingness to tackle the most divisive issues. We certainly won’t.”

“NSSF is proud to be represented by such accomplished and skilled appellate lawyers who clearly demonstrate the depth of character so badly needed in today’s legal system,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel. “Both Clement and Murphy demonstrated bold and decisive resolve to stand with their clients instead of abandoning them at the behest of their previous firm. They have a sterling professional legal reputation that is solidly matched with their fidelity to their clients. NSSF and our industry co-plaintiffs are in the very capable hands of the nation’s premier appellate law firm of Clement & Murphy, PLLC.”

This is a big get for a critically important case for the firearms industry. Other states like New Jersey are already starting to follow New York’s lead by passing similar legislation of their own, while the New York law was recently used by a victim of the New York subway shooting to sue Glock, even though the handgun was legally purchased in Ohio more than a decade before the shooting took place.

Gun control activists want to use these lawsuits to do what they can’t do legislatively: shut down the firearms industry and make it nearly impossible to purchase a gun in order to exercise your Second Amendment rights. Last month a U.S. District Judge in New York dismissed the lawsuit filed by NSSF and multiple companies within the firearms industry challenging the New York statute, setting up the appeal in the Second Circuit. I’m looking forward to seeing what Clement and Murphy can do with this case, and I’m really glad to see that the pair aren’t backing away from taking on crucial cases like this one. I can’t imagine that New York AG Letitia James is looking forward to squaring off with the team that just defeated the state’s “may issue” laws at the highest court in the land, and hopefully we won’t have too long to wait to see Clement and Murphy’s first legal salvo directed at New York’s public nuisance law.

 

Aug 18, 2022 5:30 PM ET