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Hatcher opposes bill that would bar municipalities from suing firearms manufacturers

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Today, Jan. 23, the House passed  House Bill 1235, which prohibits any entity but the state of Indiana from pursuing legal action against firearms manufacturers. This legislation would bar municipalities from pursuing action independent of the state. HB 1235 was crafted because of an ongoing 24-year lawsuit Gary v. Smith & Wesson Corp. In 1999, the city of Gary sued 9 manufacturers including Glock, Smith & Wesson and Colt. The lawsuit seeks justice for the community of Gary and would hold gun manufacturers liable for their reckless business practices that threaten public safety by contributing to the criminal gun market. 

State Rep. Ragen Hatcher (D-Gary) released the following statement regarding HB 1235:  

“By prohibiting cities, counties and other municipalities from pursuing their own legal action we set a dangerous legal precedent. HB 1235 would require the state to work on behalf of these political subdivisions. It comes at a convenient time, just as Gary has won another legal victory requiring the companies to turn over potentially damaging documents, the legislature weighs in - again - on pending litigation in favor of the gun manufacturers. The bill puts the state of Indiana in control of suing these bad actors and strips a local government of its freedom to legally protect the well-being of its residents.  

“The goal of Gary v. Smith & Wesson Corp (1999) is to hold the gun industry accountable. It’s about increasing transparency and promoting safer marketing practices. If signed into law, HB 1235 would void the Gary lawsuit. Negligent firearm manufacturers play a significant role in the increase in gun violence we’ve seen across Indiana. The laws regulating the gun industry haven’t been changed since the 1960s. A part of gun violence reduction is promoting reform, accountability, and safe sales. Instead, this legislation prohibits legal justice. Let’s act in the best interest of Hoosiers and demand accountability from the leading gun manufacturers.” 

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