Pritzker Signs Gun Dealer Licensing Bill

Pritzker signed the measure more than 7 months after former Gov. Bruce Rauner vowed to veto it

Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a bill Thursday to require gun dealers in Illinois to be certified and licensed by the state.

Pritzker was able to sign the bill passed last year after Democrats in the legislature refrained from sending it to the desk of former Gov. Bruce Rauner, who had vowed to veto the measure.

"Gun violence isn't just an issue facing one city or one region or one group of people. It affects all of us," Pritzker said at the bill signing.

"Too many Illinoisans know the pain of that violence. Today is a long overdue step to do more to prevent gun violence, to make sure that guns don't fall into the wrong hands, to make sure that we license gun shops just like we do restaurants and other businesses, perhaps more so because they deserve to be regulated," he continued. 

Senate Bill 337 requires gun dealers to be certified by the Illinois State Police, according to a statement from Pritzker's office. In order to obtain that license, dealers will have to provide annual training to employees, have video surveillance in stores and be open for inspection by law enforcement.

The measure also requires gun dealers to make copies of FOID cards or IDs and attach them to documentation detailing each gun sale, as well as imposes penalties on people who fail to maintain a record of a private gun sale.

Pritzker signed the bill on his third full day in office and more than seven months after the legislature originally passed it. He signed it alongside several elected officials, including Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul, Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx, among others, as well as Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson, plus gun violence prevention advocates and community leaders.

"I do want to say to the governor, I want to thank you for figuring out in four days what some other people couldn't figure out in four years," Emanuel said to Pritzker, in a not-so-veiled jab at the governor's Republican predecessor that drew raucous applause.

In promising to veto the measure in July 2018, Rauner said it would be duplicative because the federal government already licenses gun dealers, and that it would be burdensome on businesses while doing "little" to improve public safety.

"Just because we're signing this today, doesn't mean there isn't more to do," Pritzker said at the bill signing Thursday. He had previously spoken about working to prevent gun violence in his inauguration address on Monday.

"We allow our schools, our movie theaters, our hospitals, our neighborhoods to become battlefields – legally accessible by the weapons of war," he said Monday. "Our abdication of responsibility must end."

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