Illinois gun owners who fail to report the loss or theft of a weapon will face penalties under a new law signed by Gov. Pat Quinn, Sunday. The law beefs up background checks and effective immediately, requires gun owners to report stolen or lost firearms within 72 hours.
Gov. Quinn signed the Illinois Gun Safety and Responsibility Act at Cole Park on Chicago’s South Side. He was flanked by families who have lost loved ones to gun violence, including the parents of off-duty Chicago Police Ofc. Thomas Wortham IV. He was killed in the park in May 2010. The murder weapon was later traced to a straw buyer.
“This law really aims at holding those straw buyers accountable for buying a gun then turning around and giving it to a gang member on the street,” said Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, who called the legislation a top priority for her administration.
Starting Jan. 1, private parties who sell or transfer firearms must confirm with Illinois State Police that the buyer holds a valid Firearm Owner’s Identification Card. Illinois State Police Director Hiram Grau said the agency is increasing staffing and resources to handle the requests.
“We’re closing a loophole that can deter some of the gun traffickers from transferring guns to people that we know will do harm to others,” said State Sen. Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago), who co-sponsored the bill.
Illinois joins 7 other states and the District of Columbia in requiring that lost or stolen guns are reported to police.
“It makes my officers safer and it makes our communities safer,” said Grau.