Gun marketing to kids is irresponsible and dangerous. Illinois can stop it.

Gun safety survivors and advocates, including members of the Gun Violence Prevention PAC, call for gun safety laws Thursday in Springfield.

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This week, our legislative session has an opportunity to end on a high note, as lawmakers weigh a new gun safety bill. H.B. 218, which passed the Illinois House of Representatives with 71 votes last week, lays out measures to hold gun manufacturers accountable for acting recklessly through the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act. It would make it illegal 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. 

Plainly put, Illinois is way overdue for a law of this kind. 

For years, the gun industry has been able to cash in on our state’s gun violence issue, and as a result, we are in a crisis. Firearms are now the number one cause of death for children in Illinois and the United States as a whole. On average, more than 1,000 people in our state die due to gun violence every year. And as the cherry on top, the gun violence in Illinois comes with a price tag of about $18.6 billion each year, with about $600 million being paid by taxpayers such as you and me. 

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Meanwhile, the gun dealers and manufacturers are filling their coffers at our expense. The industry rakes in about $9 billion in revenue every year, while skirting responsibility for playing a part in our country’s unique, man-made epidemic. 

Laws such as the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act protect gun dealers, manufacturers and distributors whose sales practices can be careless and incautious, and allows them to enjoy broad immunity from the devastating realities of gun violence. 

Yet, their destruction doesn’t stop there. 

The gun lobby is now expanding their target audiences and are going after our kids – absurdly marketing weapons and firearms to minors who cannot even legally own guns. And they are also pushing guns and accessories that appear to support or encourage unlawful militia. 

While we’re trying to keep our children safe from gun violence, the gun lobby is looking to create their next wave of customers and foot soldiers who’ll take on future political battles at their behest. 

Enough is enough. It is time we stand up to the gun lobby and tell them not in our backyard. 

Hold gun industry to same standards as other consumer product makers

Through laws like H.B. 218, we have the opportunity to change the status quo and ensure that the gun industry is held to the same standards that exist for other consumer products. Because unlike their counterparts, the gun industry suffers no serious consequences when their weapons end up in the hands of dangerous individuals who carry out unspeakable crimes. 

For instance, Glock guns are most likely to end up in a crime scene — including those in Chicago — and they take no accountability to help end this scourge. 

This is why the Illinois Gun Violence Prevention PAC (G-PAC) has started a new initiative, #NotInOurHouse. In order to truly take on the gun industry, it is imperative for us to understand the outstanding harm they’ve committed in our state. Our new project aims to educate Illinoisans about the ways in which the gun lobby continues to expand their wealth, while ignoring the ways in which they fuel the violence in our state. 

The industry is banking on our complacency — literally. They want us to get used to the sight of kids dying so they can continue with their cash grab. However, we owe it to the future of our state to shake off any feelings of numbness and fight to prioritize public safety. 

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We will not fall victim to their misinformation campaigns or allow them to drag us back to a time when they held Springfield in a chokehold. We will not allow their agenda of guns for anyone, at any time, to remain commonplace. 

This week presents an opening to grow our movement for safety and tell our lawmakers we deserve to be safe in our communities. It is time we create the Illinois we want, the Illinois we deserve. Join G-PAC in letting our lawmakers know it is time to hold the gun lobby accountable. Our children deserve nothing less. 

Kathleen Sances is the president and CEO of the Illinois Gun Violence Prevention PAC. 

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May 17, 2023 at 01:49PM

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