Chicago — Attorney General Kwame Raoul applauded the passage of his Firearms Industry Responsibility Act to hold the gun industry accountable for unlawful sales and marketing tactics.
House Bill 218, sponsored by Rep. Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz, was approved by the House and now goes to the Senate for consideration.
“Since taking office as Attorney General, I have been committed to using all the resources of this office to combat gun violence,” Attorney General Raoul said. “The Firearms Industry Responsibility Act will clarify my office’s ability to use the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act, which is a primary tool available to hold businesses accountable for fraudulent or deceptive practices through civil litigation. It is how my office has protected the public from opioid manufacturers, vaping companies, tobacco companies and predatory lenders. No single industry should be given a free pass to engage in unlawful, unfair or deceptive conduct.”
Raoul’s legislation amends the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act to clarify that businesses in the firearms industry are subject to civil liability if they engage in unlawful business and marketing practices. The Attorney General’s proposal focuses on three unsafe consumer practices in the industry: failing to establish reasonable controls to prevent unlawful sales, like straw purchasing; marketing guns to individuals under 18 for unlawful possession or purchase; and marketing guns for unlawful paramilitary use.
The proposal clarifies that manufacturers, marketers, retailers and others in the industry face potential action under the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act, including monetary damages and injunctive relief, should they violate these prohibitions. The legislation specifically excludes communications or promotional materials for lawful firearms safety programs, instructional courses, hunting activities or sport shooting events.
“In 2020, guns surpassed traffic fatalities as the leading cause of death for children in the U.S. In 2023 alone, there were 58 unintentional shootings by children,” said Gong-Gershowitz. “Gun manufacturers enjoy a special immunity under federal law: they can legally market an insurrection to white supremacist groups like the Proud Boys and pink assault weapons to children too young to own one. HB218 is designed to hold gun manufacturers accountable and ensure families devastated by gun violence have a path to justice in Illinois civil court.”
The proposed legislation is the most recent step in Attorney General Raoul’s work to comprehensively address gun violence throughout Illinois and across the nation. The Attorney General’s Office has been defending, and will continue to defend, the constitutionality of the Protect Illinois Communities Act in both state and federal court.
Raoul created a state-of-the-art crime-gun tracing database for Illinois law enforcement called Crime Gun Connect. Raoul’s office also collaborates with local law enforcement to combat gun trafficking and has used the office’s jurisdiction to prosecute multi-county gun trafficking offenses. Additionally, the Attorney General’s office works with law enforcement agencies and prosecutors to increase awareness of Illinois’ red flag law and to address gaps in Illinois’ firearms licensing system. The office also continues to prosecute individuals who lie on FOID card applications.
The Attorney General’s office partners with the U.S. Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center (NTAC) to try to avert violence by hosting trainings for law enforcement officers, educators, religious leaders and other community members that are designed to prevent targeted
Attorney General Raoul has persistently advocated at the federal and state level to strengthen the regulation of 3D-printed guns and ghost guns. Illinois law now prohibits ghost guns, but the office continues to fight in federal court to help defend a recent rule closing the federal loophole.
Nationally, Attorney General Raoul successfully filed and resolved a lawsuit to get the federal firearm license of an unscrupulous arms manufacturer revoked. The office has also led several multi-state amicus briefs supporting commonsense gun safety laws in other states.
In addition to supporting law enforcement, the Attorney General’s office supports victims service providers around Illinois that offer trauma-informed services for crime victims and their families. Raoul’s Crime Victims Services Division administers a host of programs and services to assist survivors of violent crime. More information is available on the Attorney General’s website.