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Chicago’s Glock case used as ammo to shoot down Illinois’ industry liability law

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(The Center Square) – The National Shooting Sports Foundation is using the city of Chicago’s lawsuit against gunmaker Glock as ammunition in its challenge to Illinois’ firearm industry liability law.

Last year, Gov. J.B. Pritzker enacted the Firearms Industry Responsibility Act that allows for civil lawsuits against the firearms industry for a variety of things.

“The state of Illinois will now be allowed to take legal action against firearms industry players that endanger the public safety and health of our people,” Pritzker said after signing the law.

In August, NSSF sued to block the law. The group said the measure is “trying to resurrect the very kinds of lawsuits the [Protecting Lawful Commerce in Arms Act] was enacted to eliminate.”

“Numerous constitutional provisions prohibit states from regulating conduct that takes place wholly beyond their borders, even when that commerce has effects within the state,” the NSSF lawsuit said. “And the Due Process Clause prohibits states from punishing one private party for the conduct of another.”

After various procedural motions back and forth over several months, the state motioned to dismiss the case for failure to state a claim.

“NSSF cannot conjure up standing by listing speculative scenarios for future lawsuits in a brief for a motion for preliminary injunction and then say ‘gotcha’ when the State does not engage with and disavow every hypothetical,” the state’s Dec. 11, 2023, filing said.

Last week, the city of Chicago announced it’s used Illinois’ new law to file a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court against Glock, alleging the company allows for its products to be modified with illicit after-market parts turning semi-automatic firearms into full-auto.

Monday, NSSF filed a supplemental authority in federal court pointing to the Glock lawsuit.

“The supplemental filing with the Southern District Court is to be able to show them that in fact this law is now damaging one of our member companies and that the court needs to step in and take a close look at this,” NSSF spokesman Mark Oliva told The Center Square.

Oliva said federal law already prohibits frivolous lawsuits against manufacturers of legal products and Glock handguns are not illegal.

“Glocks are known for their reliability,” he said. “In fact, the entire Chicago police department uses Glocks as their sidearm.”

The lawsuit announced last week by Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson alleges Glock’s design allows for illicit third-party products to turn semi-auto firearms into full-auto.

“Glock does this despite knowing that there are reasonable steps it could take to alter the pistols it sells to civilians to make it more difficult for them to accept auto sears and to be converted into illegal machine guns,” the lawsuit said. “This conduct is unreasonable under all the circumstances.”

Oliva said that goes too far.

“We’re seeing a pattern here that the city is going to go after people who are making lawful products, making those without defect, instead of going after the criminals who are preying upon the innocent people in the city of Chicago,” he said.

Illinois’ firearm industry liability law also faces a state-level lawsuit from Piasa Armory. That case is now in front of the Illinois Supreme Court with the underlying issue of whether state law can limit where people can sue the state alleging state statute or executive orders are constitutional violations.