Attorney General Kwame Raoul was sworn in for a second term as Illinois Attorney General. Raoul pledged to continue his commitment to protecting communities from gun violence as it has become the number one cause of death for children in America.
Attorney General Raoul took the oath of office, which was administered by Illinois Supreme Court Justice Joy Cunningham, at the 2023 Inauguration in Springfield. Joining Attorney General Raoul onstage were his wife, Dr. Lisa Moore, his son, Che Raoul, stepson John Moore, and his niece Sidney Jackson.
After being sworn in, Raoul highlighted the urgent need to protect children from gun violence by clarifying his office’s authority to pursue enforcement actions against entities within the firearms industry that are endangering public safety. He announced plans to file legislation holding firearms dealers and manufacturers accountable when they engage in harmful and dangerous sales and marketing tactics.
“In the 1980s, children were three times more likely to die in a car accident than to be killed by a firearm. Today, gun violence has surpassed car accidents as the number one cause of death for American children,” Raoul said. “This is unconscionable, and it has come as our country has seen an unprecedented rise in gun sales since 2019. Yet, gun dealers and manufacturers have typically not faced accountability for bad practices, and therefore, feel no urgency to change their harmful behaviors.”
Historically, the Attorney General’s office has effectively used the powers provided by the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act to protect the public, and particularly youth, from dangerous and deadly products and business practices. Raoul’s office used its authority to investigate the e-cigarette industry and take action against manufacturers that market products to minors, even filing a lawsuit against one of the nation’s largest manufacturers. Youth smoking and its harmful health impacts have declined significantly since the tobacco industry has been forced to be accountable and curb its targeting of children.
More recently, consumer protection actions Raoul’s office has taken against opioid manufacturers and distributors have secured over a billion dollars in monetary relief that is key to rebuilding families and the Illinois communities most impacted by opioid addiction. Additional actions targeting pharmacies, once finalized, will bring even greater financial resources to combat the opioid epidemic in Illinois. The terms of these agreements are also essential to compel these industries to change their practices.
“With my office’s track record of protecting consumer safety in mind, I plan to ask the Legislature to work with my office to ensure the same tools are available to protect Illinoisans from harmful and dangerous products and practices – like tobacco and opioids — are available to enable us to take action against rogue gun dealers and manufacturers whose unlawful marketing and sales schemes contribute to the gun violence in our communities,” Raoul said.
The initiative Raoul will introduce in the coming weeks is part of his continued commitment to a comprehensive, statewide approach to gun violence that emphasizes prevention, addresses gun trafficking and responds to victims of violent crime in a trauma-informed manner.
Throughout his career and first term, Attorney General Raoul has worked diligently to enhance public safety throughout Illinois. Under Raoul’s leadership, the Attorney General’s office collaborates with local law enforcement to combat gun trafficking and uses the office’s jurisdiction to prosecute multi-county gun trafficking offenses. Raoul also works with law enforcement agencies to address gaps in Illinois’ firearms licensing system and prosecutes individuals who lie on FOID card applications.
The Attorney General’s office also defends cases pending in courts across the state challenging Illinois’ regulations of firearms. Nationally, Attorney General Raoul successfully filed and resolved a lawsuit to get the federal firearm license of an unscrupulous arms manufacturer revoked.
Beginning when Raoul took office in 2019, the Attorney General’s office has partnered with the U.S. Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center (NTAC) to host trainings for law enforcement officers, educators, religious leaders and other community members that are designed to prevent targeted acts of violence.
In addition to an unwavering focus on preventing gun violence, Attorney General Raoul serves Illinois’ diverse population by protecting the rights of all residents. The Attorney General’s office is working to ensure Illinois is a Midwest oasis for reproductive freedom and to advocate for constitutional equality for women, through a lawsuit calling on the federal government to acknowledge the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) as the 28th Amendment to the Constitution. The Attorney General’s office also took several actions to defend the rights of transgender and LGBTQ+ students and workers across the country. Raoul’s Workplace Rights Bureau combatted discrimination, wage theft, wage fixing and unfair no-poach agreements. During his second term as Attorney General, Raoul will continue to expand efforts to protect Illinois’ workforce from abuse.
Attorney General Raoul will also continue to protect children through the Illinois Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force that investigates child exploitation crimes and trains law enforcement agencies. The task force receives CyberTips, or online reports of child pornography, from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Illinois’ ICAC Task Force is one of 61 ICAC Task Forces throughout the country and is comprised of a network of more than 285 local, county, state and federal law enforcement agencies. Since 2019, the Attorney General’s ICAC Task Force has received more than 24,100 CyberTips and has been involved in more than 408 arrests of sexual predators. The task force also has provided internet safety training and education to more than 962,779 parents, teachers and students, in addition to more than 23,250 law enforcement professionals.