* Press release…
Today, State Representative Margaret Croke (IL-12) introduced HB4156, a bill to protect Illinoisans from gun violence and hold those putting more guns onto our streets accountable. The Protecting Heartbeats Act will allow Illinois residents to take civil action against gun manufacturers, importers, and dealers whose firearms are responsible for injury or death in the state.
“Too many Illinoisans die each year from senseless gun violence and we need to be doing everything in our power to keep people safe and prevent more guns from flooding into our communities,” said State Representative Margaret Croke. “In its ruling in Texas, the Supreme Court allowed citizens to take civil action against anyone in violation of the law. Our state has the opportunity to employ this same logic to hold gun manufacturers, importers, and dealers accountable for their actions and stop preventable tragedies from taking the lives of more Illinoisans.”
Everytown for Gun Violence, a leading gun violence prevention organization, estimates that 1,363 Illinoisans die of gun violence every year. From 2009 to 2018, the rate of gun deaths in Illinois increased by 32%, compared to 18% in the same time period nationwide. Illinois has the 9th highest rate of gun homicides in the country, and Black people are 34 times as likely to die by gun homicide as white people, compared to just 10 times nationwide. Everytown also says that firearms are the number one leading cause of death among children and teens in Illinois.
A recent report from the Chicago Tribune, which found that one single gun was responsible for 27 shootings and an untold amount of damage to Chicagoans and their loved ones in just a 20 month period, includes research that estimates the cost of just one gunshot injury is over $1 million. These costs include medical expenses, the earning power of a victim, the loss of business to the affected community, and more.
Under the Protecting Heartbeats Act, any Illinois resident other than a state or local government officer or employee may bring a civil action against a gun manufacturer, importer or dealer whose gun is responsible for bodily injury or death. If the claimant wins the suit, the court will award injunctive relief and damages of no less than $10,000 for each person injured or killed by the firearm manufactured, imported or dealt by the liable party.
The bill is here.
But Richard Pearson, the head of the Illinois State Rifle Association, doesn’t think going after manufacturers is the way to curb the gun violence the state is seeing.
Pearson called the measure a “terrible bill” because the state “can’t control” what people do with guns or anything else.
He equated the measure to people suing farmers for accidents after agronomists sell their corn to an elevator that in turn sells the grain to a company that makes alcohol, which is “ridiculous.”
None of the gun laws already on the books in the U.S. will “stop criminal activity, no matter what you do, because criminals want to be criminals,” Pearson said.
“The only thing that has worked in the past is — when you get crime rates to drop — you put more police on the streets, you take the criminals who get caught, and you convict them and you put them in jail for a long time and people decide to stop doing bad stuff, but, until you do that, right now it’s just going the opposite way, like a revolving door,” Pearson said. “It’s a pretty terrible system right now.”
More react at the link.