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One Year Since the Mass Shooting at a July Fourth Parade in Highland Park, Illinois Everytown, Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action Statements

July 3, 2023

CHICAGO — Everytown for Gun Safety and its grassroots networks, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, released the following statements today ahead of tomorrow’s one-year mark of the mass shooting at a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Illinois during which seven people were shot and killed and 48 others were shot and wounded.

“A year has passed since the shooting, but not a day goes by where I’m not reminded of the physical or emotional trauma that it caused,” said Lauren Bennett, survivor of the Highland Park shooting. “The trauma that I, my fellow survivors, and our Highland Park community continue to face is a reminder of why we must take action so no one else is subject to this kind of pain.”

“For many in Highland Park, the Fourth of July is now a time for honoring the friends and loved ones who were killed on that terrible day, and recommitting themselves to the fight for a safer future,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “Illinois’s gun safety laws are stronger than they were a year ago, thanks in no small part to the advocacy of Highland Park survivors and the countless volunteers they inspired.”

“As we mark a year since the Highland Park community was shattered by a gunman at a community gathering, we are reminded of the lasting toll of our nation’s gun violence epidemic,” said Angela Ferrell-Zabala, executive director of Moms Demand Action. “We all deserve to feel safe – in our homes, our schools, and our communities. Illinois Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers have fought tirelessly alongside advocates and survivors to pass gun safety laws that will help to keep Illinoisians safe. We will continue to honor those impacted by gun violence with action and fight for a future where we are able to gather, explore, love, and experience life free from the fear of gun violence.” 

In the wake of the horrific mass shooting in Highland Park, Illinois lawmakers passed critical gun safety legislation. In January, spearheaded by Highland Park Representative Bob Morgan, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed the historic Protect Illinois Communities Act, which included legislation to prohibit assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, facilitate better implementation and efficacy of Illinois’s Firearm Restraining Order (FRO) law, and address illegal gun trafficking in the state. Last month, Illinois lawmakers passed legislation to help ensure bad actors in the gun industry are held accountable for their role in perpetuating the gun violence epidemic. 

Less than half a year after Governor Pritzker signed the Protect Illinois Communities Act, gun extremists challenged the state’s law to restrict assault weapons and large-capacity magazines in the courts, yet another example of their work to upend gun safety laws in the courts following the Supreme Court’s Bruen decision. Earlier this week, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in the case. The court’s decision is expected in the coming months, and Illinois’ common-sense gun safety law hangs in the balance.

Everytown Law, the nation’s largest team of litigators who are at the forefront of advancing gun safety through the legal system, has taken action to seek justice and accountability for survivors of the Highland Park shooting, filing suits to hold Smith & Wesson accountable for its role in the chain of events leading up to the parade. The lawsuits allege that Smith & Wesson intentionally targets young people prone to risk-taking behavior and touts the use of its firearms in combat-like situations. The suits also name online gun distributor Bud’s Gun Shop, Illinois gun retailer Red Dot Arms, the alleged shooter, and the alleged shooter’s father — for their respective roles in making it possible for the shooter to carry out the massacre.

There have been 660 mass shootings in America since the shooting in Highland Park on July 4, 2022, as of June 29, according to the Gun Violence Archive. Statistics about gun violence in Illinois are available here, and Everytown’s interactive gun law platform — which shows how Illinois’ gun laws compare to the gun laws of other states — is available here. Every day in the United States, more than 120 people are killed with guns, hundreds more are shot and wounded, and countless others witness acts of gun violence.

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