On January 10th, Illinois state Senate President John Cullerton removed a hold on a bill potentially to make the unprecedented move of attempting to send a bill passed by the previous legislature to a newly inaugurated Governor’s desk. Though Senate Bill 337 passed from the General Assembly in May 2018, Sen. Cullerton had placed a procedural hold on the bill to try to avoid the possibility of a veto, as Governor Bruce Rauner had already vetoed similar legislation, and instead place it before Governor-elect J.B. Pritzker.
Senate Bill 337, as amended by Representative Kathleen Willis (D-77), would direct the state police to create an electronic transaction form for firearm transfers, which would amount to a registry. This solution in search of a problem will not only waste taxpayer funded resources, but it would also not improve public safety. 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.
In addition, SB 337 would create onerous gun dealer licensing within the state. While the purported intent of this legislation was to enhance “responsible business practices,” this bill only proves that the intention is to close as many federally licensed firearm dealers (FFLs) as possible. The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) licenses and closely monitors all FFLs and strictly enforces any violation of federal law. SB 337 goes so far beyond federal law in its mandatory regulations and red tape imposed at the state level that they would almost assuredly force the closure of most firearm dealers and prevent prospective owners from opening new ones. This legislation seeks to create so many department divisions, anti-gun 5-member licensing boards, and licensing fees that dealers would be forced to close through oversight by anti-gun appointees or being priced out of business.
Please stay tuned to www.nraila.org and your email inbox for further updates on this bill as well as other issues affecting your Second Amendment rights in Illinois.