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Everytown launches legal fund to support

anti-gun violence lawsuits

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BY CELINE CASTRONUOVO - 07/28/21 02:01 PM EDT

   Everytown for Gun Safety on Wednesday announced the launch of a litigation fund aimed at supporting legal claims by survivors of gun violence. 

   Everytown Law, the legal division of the gun control advocacy group that is made up of lawyers working to advance gun safety measures through the court system, said in a press release that it hopes to “support legal action seeking to address the impact of gun violence on disproportionately affected communities, including Black, Latino, and other communities of color.” 

   The organization said that it will be devoting an initial commitment of $3 million to be allocated among an array of approved applications from small- and mid-sized law firms, solo practitioners and nonprofit legal projects. 

   Eric Tirschwell, managing director for Everytown Law, said in a statement that the fund is meant to support legal efforts that don’t already have backing from large national law firms. 

   “A lack of resources shouldn’t prevent gun violence survivors and their allies from holding reckless actors in the gun industry accountable,” Tirschwell argued. 

   “Where constitutional or other legal violations are contributing to gun violence, legal action may be the only remedy available,” he added. “Even as we make major strides through our own impact litigation, we see tremendous untapped potential to advance gun safety through the courts.” 

   According to its website, Everytown Law will accept and review applications on a rolling basis, with financial support being offered for litigation fees, costs of suit and, in certain cases, opportunities for mentorship assistance and co-counseling. 

   The money in the legal fund will be provided through the Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, the advocacy organization said on its website. 

   Legal efforts that may be supported by the fund include claims filed by survivors of gun violence, unfair or deceptive marketing of guns and “lawsuits seeking to compel state and local officials to enforce gun safety laws,” the organization said. 

   The fund is just one of several efforts by Everytown in support of implementing stronger gun control measures, especially after the U.S. saw a surge in gun sales during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

   Several shootings across the country in the early months of 2021, including in Atlanta and Boulder, Colo., also reignited calls from the Biden administration and Democrats to reimpose a federal assault weapons ban and implement more stringent background check measures for gun purchases. 

   A nationwide assault weapons ban was previously put in place under former President Clinton’s administration, though multiple attempts by Congress to renew the legislation since it expired in 2004 have failed. 

   Last month, Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund launched a $500,000 ad campaign urging Republicans to throw their support behind legislation expanding background checks on gun sales.