Violence shall no more be heard in your land,
devastation or destruction within your borders;
you shall call your walls Salvation,
and your gates Praise.
Gun violence touches all of us. Last year in Illinois more than 4,300 people were shot and 720 died, many of them children. Gun violence is the 3rd leading cause of death for children in our country. We can do something now in Illinois to keep kids safe.
Virtually every gun enters the consumer market through a gun dealer. Many gun dealers operate legally and responsibly. However, some gun dealers knowingly and illegally traffic guns. Others are simply careless and through negligent business practices allow guns to fall into the wrong hands.
Gun dealers are the most critical link between gun manufacturers and the public. They are also one of the largest sources of illegally trafficked firearms in the nation. Of the 120 firearms dealers with the most crime guns between 1996 and 2000, 13 were in Illinois, the second highest concentration of any state. Only two of those 13 dealers had been inspected during that period. Four of the dealers had at least 500 crime-gun traces, yet not a single one of those four were inspected by ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) according to a report by the Americans for Gun Safety Foundation.
The Gun Dealer Licensing Act (SB 1657) would give Illinois the ability to encourage better business practices among gun dealers and hold corrupt dealers accountable. This legislation, supported by the Illinois Gun Violence Prevention Coalition, will provide critical oversight to curb a major source of illegally trafficked firearms from entering communities in Illinois.
Although Illinois licenses many businesses, such as dog groomers, barbers, and manicurists, Illinois DOES NOT currently license gun dealers. Fifteen states and Washington D.C. have enacted state licenses to close loopholes in federal laws. These states show a marked decrease in crimes with guns purchased from gun dealers.
SB 1657 (sponsored by Sen. Don Harmon and Rep. Kathleen Willis) would require criminal background checks for gun store employees, training for employees to help stop straw purchase and basic store security measures to prevent theft. These simple requirements will stop the flow of guns into our neighborhoods.
Children have the right to grow up free from gun violence. Now is the time to take meaningful action to usher forth the tomorrow imagined by the prophet Isaiah where violence shall no more be heard. Take action now by urging your state representative to support SB 1657, the Gun Dealer Licensing Act!
SB 1657 passed out of the Illinois Senate in April, and advanced out of the House Judiciary Criminal Law Committee on May 16, 2017. It could be voted on the House floor during the upcoming Veto Session on October 24-26 and November 7-9.
We need a statewide solution. Now is the time to act, no more delays. Urge your state representative to vote YES on SB 1657, the Gun Dealer Licensing Act, to help keep kids safe from gun violence.