After years of trying to license gun dealers in Illinois, the House finally passed SB 1657 on February 28, 2018 by a vote 64-52! Instead of signing the Gun Dealer Licensing Act into law, Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed it on March 13. Now it is up to your state legislators to override the veto when they return to Springfield in April.
The Gun Dealer Licensing Act would require Illinois to license gun dealers in an effort to quell gun violence in Chicago neighborhoods and across the state. Other states that have adopted similar licensing requirements have seen a 65% reduction in guns used in crimes.
This bill would require gun shop owners and workers to be trained in background checks and theft prevention. It also includes other measures, such as requiring training in the prevention of “straw” purchases, in which someone buys firearms for someone legally barred from purchasing a gun. It would make a significant impact on curbing a major source of illegally trafficked firearms from entering our communities.
Violence is the antithesis of love. Gun violence destroys families and communities. Yet, as people of faith, we remember that on the evening before Jesus was crucified, he met with his disciples and gave them a new commandment: love one another.
We love one another by keeping our children safe. This is our one job and we cannot keep this promise if we do not take illegal guns off of our streets and out of our communities. Currently, injuries from gun violence are the leading cause of death for children in Illinois.
Gun violence in our state also disproportionately affects our neighbors along lines of race and poverty. We are called as people of faith to not only love one another, but to be peacemakers, change agents, and reject inequality.
Your voice and action is needed to override the Governor’s veto of SB 1657. Join our efforts to embody Christ’s love as part of the Illinois Gun Violence Prevention Coalition to demand a statewide response to stop gun violence now.