Gov. Pritzker signs bill requiring licenses for gun dealers

IL gun bill signed into law

CHICAGO, IL (KFVS) - Gun dealers selling firearms will now have to be certified and private sellers will need to keep records gun sale transactions in the state of Illinois.

On Thursday, Jan. 17, Governor JB Pritzker signed SB 337, which creates two acts regulating the sale of guns.

  • Firearm Dealer License Certification Act requires gun dealers in to be certified by Illinois State Police. 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.
  • Gun Trafficking Information Act requires 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. 

This is the second bill Gov. Pritzker signed since taking office Monday, Jan. 14.

Gun violence survivors, prevention advocates, community leaders and elected officials witnessed Pritzker taking action on the measure.

“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. 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.”
Gov. JB Pritzker, (D) IL

Advocates of the bill believe it will help keep guns out of the hands of criminals and decrease gun violence.

The bill’s sponsor in the House, Rep. Kathleen Will, said “This bipartisan law will not harm any gun dealer that operates in good faith, but it does ensure accountability for dealers that fail to make efforts to keep guns from falling into the hands of criminals.”

State Senator Dale Fowler opposed the bill when it went before the Senate and voiced his concerns about the governor’s action:

“While I can recognize the efforts from the new Administration to act swiftly to address gun violence in our state, I cannot support a measure that unfairly targets small gun dealers and fails to address some of the fundamental factors that contribute to gun crimes. The demands of Senate Bill 337 upon our firearm dealers are costly, leaving me to question how we can expect the smaller gun sellers of our state—just like the ones that operate here in Southern Illinois—to afford this bill. Duplicative and unaffordable regulation isn’t the answer.”
Sen. Dale Fowler (R-Harrisburg)

State Rep. Terri Bryant had cast a number of no votes against what was known as the ‘gun-dealer licensing bill’ during the previous General Assembly.

“The Governor has previously run for office on some pretty radical ideas when it comes to 2nd Amendment protections,” Bryant said. “As an unsuccessful candidate for Congress, Governor Pritzker floated the idea of an all-out ban on handguns. His ideas on guns do not align with mine or the vast majority of Southern Illinoisans. They certainly don’t jibe well with what is supposed to be a guaranteed Constitutional right to bear arms.”
Sen. Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro)

State Rep. Dave Severin said it will create new costs for small gun businesses.

“Once it takes effect, SB 337 will now create new licensing costs and regulations for small, independent gun dealerships,” “Back when it was a bill, the legislation became probably the most infamous piece of legislation among gun owners and Second Amendment supporters in Illinois. Some quick research on ILGA.gov shows that the bill drew more than 4,000 opponents on the record when it was presented to the House Judiciary Committee. That is a major mobilization of law-abiding gun owners and dealers.”
Sen. Dave Severin (R-Benton)

The measure makes Illinois the 16th state to require gun dealers to be state certified. It passed out of the Senate by a vote of 35 to 20 and was eligible to go before the governor on May 30, 2018.

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