The fight to license gun dealers in Illinois is not over yet. SB 1657, the Gun Dealer Licensing Act, was not called for a vote in the House during the Veto Session which ended on November 9, 2017. The Illinois General Assembly is now in recess until January.
This was a missed opportunity to reduce gun violence in our state. SB 1657 will provide sensible oversight over gun dealers to deter straw purchasers, require criminal background checks and enhanced training for gun store employees, as well as basic store security measures to prevent theft. These simple requirements will stop the flow of guns into our neighborhoods.
According to the 2017 Gun Trace Report produced by the University of Chicago’s Crime Lab, city of Chicago, and Chicago Police Department a handful of gun stores are responsible for a disproportionate number of guns used in crimes, with just ten dealers selling almost a quarter of crime guns recovered in Chicago. This report analyzes data trends from thousands of crime guns recovered by the Chicago Police Department from 2013 to 2016.
This report calls for passage of the Gun Dealer Licensing Act:
Trace data going back almost a decade demonstrates that roughly two out of every five of Chicago’s crime guns come into the city from Illinois source dealers, making Illinois the single largest source state for Chicago’s illegal guns. Passage of the statewide Gun Dealer Licensing Act would provide a critical tool to help deter straw purchasing, implement anti-theft measures, and aid local law enforcement in firearm trafficking investigations.
A substantial body of research shows that state level gun dealer licensing would reduce gun violence by lowering the number of illegally trafficked firearms. The Gun Trace Report concludes:
A 2014 analysis determined that a state licensure requirement over gun dealers had an independent impact on lowering firearm homicide rates. Additionally, the research concluded that permitting audits of gun dealer inventory lowered gun-related homicides. When coupled together, adoption of these two provisions is associated with significantly reduced firearm homicide rates. Among other regulatory and investigatory benefits, both of these provisions are encompassed in the pending Gun Dealer Licensing bill.
The bill is still alive! We will continue to work with the Illinois Gun Violence Prevention Coalition and Our One Job campaign to push for SB 1657 (sponsored by Sen. Don Harmon and Rep. Kathleen Willis) to pass the House in the Spring 2018 Session. SB 1657 already passed the Senate on April 27, 2017.
Thank you for contacting your legislators to hold corrupt gun dealers accountable, act now! Our work is far from over.
Continue to contact your representative and urge them to support SB 1657 to keep our children safe from gun violence. Stay tuned for more information on opportunities to get involved in phone banks and legislative visits.