Governor Signs Bill to Make it Easier to Sue Bad Actors in the Gun Industry at Annual Gun Sense University in Chicago
Gun Sense Lawmaker of the Year Awarded to Governor Pritzker for His Leadership on Gun Violence Prevention, Follows IL Supreme Court Upholding Illinois Assault Weapons and High Capacity Magazine Ban
NEW YORK — Today, surrounded by a sea of gun safety advocates at Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund’s annual Gun Sense University in Chicago, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker signed a critical gun violence prevention bill to help hold bad actors in the gun industry accountable for their role in perpetuating the gun violence epidemic. Just yesterday, the Illinois Supreme Court upheld the Protect Illinois Communities Act, which bans the sale of assault weapons and high capacity magazines and was signed into law by Governor Prizker in January. As part of this year’s Gun Sense University, Governor Pritzker was also being named the State Gun Sense Lawmaker of the Year for his leadership on gun safety.
“In the aftermath of the Highland Park mass shooting, Governor Pritzker told the NRA to ‘leave us the hell alone’ — and then he got to work championing laws to prevent future tragedies,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “The legislation Governor Pritzker signed today will go a long way towards ending the special treatment that has allowed the gun industry to put profits ahead of public safety.”
“Governor Pritzker, backed by our grassroots army of volunteers and the gun sense lawmakers we helped elect, have made Illinois a safer place today. This critical gun industry accountability bill is a testament to Governor Pritzker’s leadership on gun safety,” said Angela Ferrell-Zabala, executive director of Moms Demand Action. “We also thank the brave lawmakers who helped get this bill to the Governor’s desk, many of whom are Moms Demand Action volunteers turned elected officials. This is the playbook we’ll continue to use across the country, in lockstep with gun sense champions like Governor Pritzker.”
“Gun violence in Illinois, and particularly here in Chicago, continues to devastate families and communities like my own,” said Pastor Brenda Mitchell, survivor fellow with the Everytown Survivor Network and co-lead of the Illinois Chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Despite the challenges of combating gun violence in Illinois, including the reality of sharing state borders with states with lax and dangerous gun laws, Governor Pritzker continues to listen to survivors of gun violence and prioritize measures to curb violence. We look forward to continuing our work with Governor Pritzker and congratulate him on this award.”
For nearly two decades, a federal law known as the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (“PLCAA”) has helped to shield bad actors in the gun industry from lawsuits that would hold them accountable for their role in fueling the epidemic of gun violence in Illinois and across the country. This protection has prevented many individuals and communities wounded by gun violence from filing civil suits against these bad actors, giving the gun industry little incentive to change their dangerous and irresponsible practices. Although Illinois and federal law permit certain claims against the gun industry to go forward, including claims brought under the state’s consumer protection laws, HB 218 will clarify existing law and open additional pathways to hold bad actors in the industry accountable for contributing to gun violence. Ensuring a path to accountability for gun manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers is essential to stemming the flow of illegal guns into Illinois, ensuring basic product safety and marketing standards are met, and finally holding bad actors within the gun industry accountable for the harm they’ve helped cause.
Gun Sense Lawmaker of the Year is an annual award given at Gun Sense University (GSU) to lawmakers who are setting an example on how to lead on gun safety. Gun Sense University, hosted by Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund (“Everytown for Gun Safety”), together with its grassroots volunteer networks Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, is an annual training and membership conference, bringing together volunteers and leaders of the gun violence prevention movement from all 50 states and Washington D.C.
Governor Pritzker continues to lead on gun safety. Just earlier this year, Governor Pritzker also signed the historic Protect Illinois Communities Act in January. The Protect Illinois Communities Act 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. On Friday, the Illinois Supreme Court upheld the state’s prohibition on assault weapons and large-capacity magazines
Governor Pritzker was given this award for state lawmakers along with Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Minnesota Governor Tim Walz.
Following a historic midterm election cycle where sixteen Illinois Moms Demand Action volunteers running for office up and down the ballot won, Illinois is paving the way and leading on gun safety. Volunteers elected include Nabeela Syed, a Muslim, Indian American woman who flipped a GOP-held district and will be the youngest member of the Illinois General Assembly, and the re-election of State Representative Maura Hirschauer, who has been a champion for gun safety in the Illinois General Assembly since she was first elected. As of today, there are 30 Moms Demand Action volunteers in elected office in Illinois. Our volunteers-turned-elected-officials have gone from advocating for gun safety to legislating on it – not only voting on behalf of gun safety policies, but leading the way on their creation and passage.
In an average year, 1,622 people die and 2,715 people are wounded by guns in Illinois. Gun violence costs Illinois $18.6 billion each year, of which $625.5 million is paid by taxpayers. Learn more about gun violence in Illinois here.