CHICAGO — It took more than 15 years and a number of votes, but the state of Illinois now has its first gun licensing law.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the bill into law Thursday at Ella Flagg Young Elementary in Chicago’s North Austin neighborhood. Two big supporters of the bill, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson, were at the signing as well.
The original piece of legislation was passed with a number of other gun bills not long after the Parkland school shooting and the shooting death of Chicago Police Cmdr. Paul Bauer.
It’s aimed at giving the state more oversight over gun sales at gun shops. It requires gun shops to get a state license, put in surveillance cameras, establish electronic inventory system and anti-theft systems and train employees every year on spotting straw gun sales.
“These are common sense gun safety reforms,” said Pritzker. “The reason for it is to deter straw purchases, so that we can prevent someone from buying a gun for someone else who is not legally allowed to own a gun.”
Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed one version of the bill and promised a second veto if he had the chance. Instead, Democrats waited until Pritzker took over to send it to the governor’s office.
Rauner said the federal government does everything in the bill already, so it won’t put a dent in the gun violence that has plagued Chicago.
“We know for a fact that convicted felons often take their friends, girlfriend, and things of that nature, to gun dealers, and they point out to them which guns to purchase,” said Johnson.
The Illinois Rifle Association said the bill is designed to put small firearms dealers out of business. The license will cost a dealer up to $1,500.
“The federal government already licenses gun dealers. There is no need to add yet another layer of bureaucracy on gun dealers. The only thing this measure is going to do is make it cost more money for gun dealers to do business in Illinois, which is going to hurt the smaller dealers,” said the IRA in a statement. “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 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.”