Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker has signed a new law that prohibits firearms advertising that is deemed to pose a threat to public safety or targets children, militants, or individuals who may use the weapons illegally. This law opens the door for lawsuits against firearms manufacturers or distributors who engage in such advertising practices.
The Firearm Industry Responsibility Act, signed by Pritzker on Saturday, makes Illinois the eighth state to pass legislation that weakens legal protections for firearms manufacturers or distributors. This move comes in the wake of the deadliest six months of mass shootings in the United States since at least 2006, with almost all of them involving guns.
The bill signing took place during Gun Sense University, an annual training conference organized by Everytown for Gun Safety, which was attended by over 2,000 volunteers and survivors from Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, as well as lawmakers and gun control advocates.
Pritzker stated that just like opioid manufacturers, vaping companies, and predatory lenders, gun manufacturers should also be held accountable by the law, and now they won’t be able to hide from it. The new law took immediate effect upon signing.
Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul, a strong supporter of the law, commended Governor Pritzker for taking an important step to protect consumers and enhance public safety. Democratic state Representative Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz, the House sponsor of the bill, emphasized that companies that depict guns as tools for carnage will face significant penalties.
These court challenges against firearms advertising form part of ongoing efforts by Democratic lawmakers in Illinois and other states to combat gun violence, which has been further complicated by the U.S. Supreme Court’s expansion of gun rights last year. Pritzker has also signed a ban on semi-automatic weapons this year, a law that continues to face opposition from gun-rights advocates in federal court.
By implementing these measures, Illinois aims to address the pressing issue of gun violence and ensure that manufacturers and distributors are held accountable for their advertising practices. The state’s proactive approach sets an example for other states grappling with the same issue, and demonstrates the determination to prioritize public safety.