SPRINGFIELD – Within days of his inauguration, Democrat Governor J.B. Pritzker kept his promise to gun control advocates that supported his campaign last November. Thursday, he signed into law a measure many of them worked to enact for decades that would require an additional layer of bureaucracy for gun dealers within Illinois.
“Gun violence isn’t an issue facing one city, or one region, or one group of people — it affects us all, and I want to thank all those tireless advocates who didn’t rest until our state took commonsense action to prevent gun trafficking,” said Governor JB Pritzker.
“This bipartisan law is a long-overdue step to do more to prevent gun violence, to make sure guns don’t fall into the wrong hands, to make sure that we license gun shops just like restaurant and other businesses, and deter straw purchases, so that we can prevent someone from buying a gun for someone who is not legally allowed to own a gun.”
SB 337 makes Illinois the 16th state to require gun dealers to be certified by the state – in addition to the federal government's licensing requirements.
This new law will be challenged in court, the Illinois State Rifle Association promised.
"The action taken today is another assault on our 2nd Amendment rights. Nothing in this bill is going to enhance public safety in Illinois," the group said in a statement. "The only thing that is being accomplished here is the creation of a bureaucratic nightmare for gun dealers. Rest assured, we will be challenging this new law in court.”
The state licenses for gun dealers measure was passed in the previous General Assembly but was never sent to Governor Rauner because 2nd Amendment rights opponents knew he would veto it, the ISRA said.
"Political gamesmanship like this is just a typical day in Illinois politics. The Illinois State Rifle Association is deeply disappointed in the action taken today, but is certainly not surprised," they said.
The Firearm Dealer License Certification Act requires any gun dealer in the State of Illinois be certified by the Illinois State Police (ISP). State-licensed dealers are required to provide annual training to employees, have video surveillance in gun stores, and be open for inspection by ISP and local law enforcement.
Another part of the new law requires requires the ISP to publish key information related to crime-related firearms and imposes penalties on individuals who fail to maintain a record of a private sale.
These new requirements are in addition to the federal government's licensing requirements.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and several other key Democrats supported the new law.
“It only took Governor Pritzker four days – not four years – to realize that if the state can license a barber shop or a liquor store, we can license gun dealers,” Emanuel said. “I commend Governor Pritzker for prioritizing this important public safety measure that will reduce the number of illegal guns on our streets and allow the Chicago police to further crack down crime.”
The bill signing and Pritzker's comments are viewable HERE by Illinois Channel.