The Senate did not take up the veto and stands adjourned until April 10.
But let’s also take a breath.
The gun shop licensing bill Rauner vetoed was government overreach. Rather than narrowly focused legislation targeting bad actors in the gun-sale business, the bill swept all Illinois sellers — more than 2,000 statewide — into a regulatory environment so onerous it would put some shops out of business. It also created a new layer of government through a Gun Dealer Licensing Board.
You don’t have to take our word for it. More than 20 Democrats in the House and Senate didn’t support the bill, along with more than 50 Republicans. Were they also cruel and cold, lacking moral conviction and cowardly? Or did they recognize government overcorrection when they saw it?
The bill lawmakers sent to Rauner went too far. It would have required gun shop employees to pass background checks and take mandatory state training. Shops would have to install surveillance equipment and alarms. Owners would need a county sheriff’s approval to get a license and would have to open their records to law enforcement, to name just a few of the rules. The designated state oversight agency — the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation — opposed the bill because the agency doesn’t have the resources to enforce it.
Together, the rules constituted more oversight than those of any other state, according to supporters and opponents. And it’s all on top of regulations already in place under federal law. Gun dealers are licensed by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Illinois already imposes more limits on gun ownership than most states — including age restrictions, mandatory waiting periods and a state-issued firearm owner’s identification card, which is granted only after an applicant clears background checks that are stricter than those contained in federal law. Anyone selling a gun must verify that the buyer has a FOID — there is no exemption, as there is under federal law, for private sales at gun shows or elsewhere.
All of this shows that Illinois lawmakers have a track record for passing reasonable gun restrictions.
Rauner’s veto doesn’t mean lawmakers should stomp away. A narrowly tailored bill increasing state oversight of gun dealers might well be warranted. We have seen the statistics on a handful of Illinois dealers who are federally licensed — yet whose weapons, supposedly sold legally, end up disproportionately at crime scenes in Chicago. Those shops deserve more scrutiny. Not everyone.
If gun shop licensing is important to lawmakers in this state, they should return to the negotiating table and find common ground. Downsize the burdensome regulations. Check the emotion that drives gun policy. And send Rauner a bill he can sign.
So, any Senator supporting the veto override will be to the left of the Chicago Tribune on gun dealer licensing.
- HB1465 - (Age 21 for rifles) - passed. back to the house for concurrence.
- HB1467 - (Bump Stocks) - passed 37-15-3 and goes back to the house. The Senate added preemption language that would allow municipalities to set their own weapons bans. Not good, as then you're potentially a felon depending on what city/town border you cross.
- HB1468 (72 Hour wait) passed 33-22-2 and goes back to the House for concurrence.