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The consequences of these illegal sales were devastating.

In the mid-1990s, when Operation Hollow Point was underway, Gary’s murder rate was 91 per 100,000 people — ten times what the national murder rate was. A billboard on Gary’s main street even read “CAUTION!!! You Are Currently in Gary, IN, 1993 Murder Capital of the Nation.” 

It was in the aftermath of Operation Hollow Point, and in the face of growing gun violence, that the City of Gary decided to take legal action alongside Brady to hold the gun industry accountable for putting Gary’s community in danger.  

The City of Gary v. Smith & Wesson et al. Lawsuit 

In the 1990s, Brady’s legal team spearheaded lawsuits filed on behalf of many major cities, including Gary, to expose the role of the gun industry in supplying the criminal gun market.  

In the early 2000s, Smith & Wesson, a major gun manufacturer, agreed to a global settlement of those cases with the federal government and several cities represented by Brady. This prompted a massive backlash from the gun industry against Smith & Wesson and led the gun industry to seek unprecedented protections to aid it in avoiding liability. Despite a gun lobby-backed “immunity statute” going into effect in Indiana, the Indiana Supreme Court denied gun companies’ motion to dismiss the Gary case in 2003. 

In 2005, the gun industry lobbied Congress to pass the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA). PLCAA granted what was perceived as sweeping legal immunity for the gun industry and eventually knocked out all of those pending lawsuits, except in one city: Gary, IN. 

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For nearly twenty years, Gary has been the last city standing in the litigation. Brady has fought motion after motion and multiple appeals to keep the case from being dismissed. This past summer, the case entered into the discovery phase. But just before discovery was set to begin, the Indiana General Assembly quickly introduced and passed H.B.1235 into law. This law makes it extremely difficult to sue gun manufacturers in Indiana, and legislators’ stated goal in passing the law was to end the ongoing lawsuit.  

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Felecia Phillips Ollie DD (h.c.) is the inspiring leader and founder of The Equality Network LLC (TEN). With a background in coaching, travel, and a career in news, Felecia brings a unique perspective to promoting diversity and inclusion. Holding a Bachelor's Degree in English/Communications, she is passionate about creating a more inclusive future. From graduating from Mississippi Valley State University to leading initiatives like the Washington State Department of Ecology’s Equal Employment Opportunity Program, Felecia is dedicated to making a positive impact. Join her journey on our blog as she shares insights and leads the charge for equity through The Equality Network.

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