INDIANAPOLIS—The Senate Corrections Committee voted to move House Bill 1235 to the Senate Floor. State Senator Rodney Pol Jr. (D- Chesterton) released the following statement:

House Bill 1235 is a blatant attempt by members of the supermajority to give a powerful industry immunity for even unlawful actions. If we pass this bill, it sends a clear message; if you don’t like that you’re being held accountable for your actions, come to the legislature and we can change the rules.

“HB 1235 unequivocally aims at one and only one lawsuit. It is a complete overreach of the legislature into the judicial branch, violating or fundamental principal separation of powers. This is a dangerous precedent of allowing industry to flex influence over lawmakers to dismiss cases of unlawful conduct currently pending before the Court.

“I am strong in my support for the right of Hoosiers to exercise their 2nd Amendment rights. However, there is no right to unlawfully distribute firearms to cities plagued by crime. Since the 1990s, gun manufacturers turned a blind eye to illegal gun sales, prioritizing profits over public safety. Police and prosecutors have tried valiantly to stop gun violence through the criminal justice system. However, the flood of guns through straw sales and other means have made that a momentous task. Even in light of 13 different laws to enhance punishments for firearm-related crimes over the last couple of decades, gun violence rates have continued to rise. We’ve seen a 43% increase in gun homicides since 2015. This demonstrates that only using the criminal justice system to address gun violence is failing. That’s exactly why Gary filed the lawsuit in the first place; to protect itself and its citizens.

“While the 2nd Amendment is celebrated as the right to defend ourselves, our communities are being deprived of the right to defend themselves. The City of Gary has the only surviving lawsuit to hold the industry accountable for their role. HB 1235 would ban all cities from suing bad actors in the industry. Most significantly, the bill is retroactive to Aug. 27, 1999, which is three days before the Gary lawsuit was filed, making it clear of the intention to kill the Gary lawsuit.

“It has been clear from the start that this bill was an attack on the Gary litigation. If we open the door to interfering with ongoing litigation for powerful industries, where does it stop? I’ll continue to urge the defeat of this bill on the floor and ask my colleagues to join me.”