The Illinois House of Representatives approved a Senate bill that, if enacted into law, would require gun dealers to validate their federal license with the Illinois State Police. A controversial amendment containing language that gun rights groups say calls for a gun registry has also been added to the measure.
Illinois Gun Dealer Licensing Bill
According to the State Journal-Register, SB 337 passed through the House in a vote of 65-49. The measure was amended in the lower chamber, thus, it now heads back to the Senate for a concurrence vote, which must take place today in order for it to be passed before the end of the legislative session.
Under the current version of SB 337, FFLs would be required to file a copy of its license with the State Police. They’d also have to include a sworn affidavit stating that the license is valid. Upon review, the State Police will then issue a “certificate of license” to the FFL within 30 days. Furthermore, FFLs who sell or transfer firearms must receive at least two hours of training annually regarding “legal requirements and responsible business practices as applicable to the sale or transfer of firearms.”
In addition, SB 337 requires that FFLs have their business open for inspection by law enforcement during all hours of operation, “provided that the Department of law enforcement may conduct no more than one unannounced inspection per business per year without good cause.” In addition, FFLs would be required to develop a plan for the safe storage of guns and ammo.
One amendment to the bill, introduced by Rep. Kathleen Willis, D-Addison, has particularly raised the ire of gun rights groups. It calls for the Illinois State Police to create an electronic form to track gun transfers. Consequently, the NRA says this is essentially a gun registry.
“This solution in search of a problem will not only waste taxpayer funded resources, but it would also not improve public safety,” the NRA said. “Criminals, by definition, do not obey the law, and acquire the vast majority of their firearms illegally such as by theft, on the black market, or by straw purchase. A registry would not affect criminals as it could only include lawful transactions. The only purpose that firearm registries serve is to facilitate future confiscations of firearms from those who currently own them legally.”
Arguing against the measure, Rep. Allen Skillicorn, R-West Dundee, cited a scene—which can be seen above—from “Red Dawn,” a 1984 film in which the Soviet Union invades the United States.
“When the bad guys invaded the town, what did they do? They went to the sporting goods store and they wanted to look up the gun registry,” Skillicorn said. “They wanted to look up the records of who owned the guns. Nothing is going to stop the state of Illinois from looking up this information if we now require this. This is a gun registry and that’s it.”
If SB 337 passes in the Senate in the concurrence vote, it would then head to the desk of Republican Gov. Bill Rauner, who vetoed a similar bill back in March.