Illinois House Democrats hope to pass a plan in the final two weeks of session to hold gun manufacturers and others in the firearm industry accountable for gun violence.
Rep. Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz (D-Glenview) told the House Judiciary-Civil Committee Wednesday morning that gun manufacturers enjoy a special immunity under federal law as they can legally market firearms to anyone. Gong-Gershowitz and co-sponsors said every family devastated by gun violence should have an opportunity for justice through civil action.
The proposal could make it unlawful to knowingly create, maintain, or contribute to a condition in Illinois that endangers the safety or health of the public by failing to establish reasonable safeguards.
“In 2020, guns surpassed traffic fatalities as the leading cause of death for children in the United States,” Gong-Gershowitz said. “In 2023 alone, there were 58 unintentional shootings by children. Gun manufacturers can legally market an insurrection to white supremacist groups like the Proud Boys and pink assault weapons to children too young to own one.”
Attorney General Kwame Raoul (D-Illinois) said the firearm industry should not be allowed to sell guns to straw purchasers or market weapons to paramilitary or private militias. Gun manufacturers and distributors would also be banned from marketing or selling firearms to minors.
“No single industry should be given a free pass to engage in unlawful, unfair, or deceptive conduct,” Raoul said. “Rather than single out the industry as some have suggested, this legislation ensures the industry is treated in exactly the same way as other businesses within the state.”
The National Shooting Sports Foundation told the House Judiciary-Civil Committee that this plan will violate the Federal Protection of Lawful Commerce and Arms Act. Although, Raoul and Gong-Gershowitz said their legislation will be able to stand up against any legal challenges brought forward by gun advocates.
Still, the Illinois State Rifle Association and Illinois Federation of Outdoor Resources stressed the bill language is too vague and could lead to unintended consequences.
“There are trap shooting teams in downstate Illinois. There are out-of-state companies that engage in partnerships with them to provide discounted ammunition,” said lobbyist Josh Witkowski. “We are worried that these partnerships will dissolve because these companies are going to be worried about the language contained in this act.”
Source : Wand TV