Indiana House Bill 1235 Was Designed to Halt an Important Legal Case to Hold Major Gun Manufacturers Accountable for Negligent Business Practices.

Washington, D.C., March 15, 2024 – Today, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb signed House Bill 1235 into law, a bill aimed at only one thing: killing off the most consequential legal case against the gun industry in this country. The legislation was orchestrated by the gun industry, chiefly the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), to stop City of Gary v. Smith & Wesson et al., an active case seeking to hold major gun companies accountable for their role in fueling gun violence. Since 1999, Brady, the nation’s oldest gun violence prevention group, has represented the City of Gary in the lawsuit and fought off repeated gun lobby attempts to destroy the case. Discovery in the case had been set to begin just as House Bill 1235 was introduced.

“This new law in Indiana is a tragedy for Americans everywhere,” said Kris Brown, President of Brady. “Indiana legislators just gave America’s top gun manufacturers a free pass. Every other industry faces accountability in the courts. It should send chills down the spine of every American that the corporate gun industry succeeded in changing the law to stop discovery and being held responsible in court. Every American should question what the gun industry is hiding and what truly abhorrent practices they want to be kept in the dark. This is a grim day for the gun violence prevention movement and our nation’s future.

According to reporting fromProPublica, the NSSF spent $143,000 on lobbying efforts in 2023. Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita even joined the NSSF’s Shot Show in January 2024 and discussed HB 1235 with NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel Larry Keane. In their interview, Rokita and Keane agreed that a legislative approach would be the best way to stop the City of Gary’s case. The CEOs of five of the defendant companies are on the board of the NSSF. The legislation is so clearly tainted with special interest.

“This isn’t about Indiana alone. Until we ensure gun industry accountability, negligent business practices will continue to fuel America’s gun violence epidemic, not just in Indiana, but everywhere in America,” said Philip Bangle, Senior Litigation Counsel for Brady. “Indiana legislators had the opportunity to fulfill their mandate to protect and serve the people of their great state. Yet, key legislators repeated the gun industry’s misleading talking points in support of this dangerous legislation. The American justice system fails when a well-funded corporate party litigant succeeds in lobbying the legislature to pass a law to override the courts and take matters away from a judge and jury. I am appalled that the gun industry would go as far as to attack Indiana’s democracy rather than face its day in court. Who knew the gun industry needed to be so coddled? This bill is simply cowardly and un-American.”

Gov. Holcomb signed the bill despite a letter from City of Gary Mayor Eddie Melton, who called the bill “the most extreme, centralizing legislative power grab yet.” Brady and the City of Gary will explore every possible opportunity to continue the fight for gun industry reform.

Brady has one powerful mission — to unite all Americans against gun violence. We work across Congress, the courts, and our communities with over 90 grassroots chapters, bringing together young and old, red and blue, and every shade of color to find common ground in common sense. In the spirit of our namesakes Jim and Sarah Brady, we have fought for over 45 years to take action, not sides, and we will not stop until this epidemic ends. It’s in our hands.


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