Gun advocates express concern over gun shop licensing bill - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Gun advocates express concern over gun shop licensing bill

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MARION, Ill. -- The new governor of Illinois followed through on a campaign promise to pass tighter gun control laws.

"Just because we're signing this today doesn't mean there isn't more to do," Governor JB Pritzker said during a bill signing ceremony at an elementary school in Chicago Thursday.

The bill Governor Pritzker signed creates a license for Illinois gun shop owners.

"This regulation is looking to put gun shops out of business," Randall Gustafson, a salesman for Pro Gun and Indoor Range in Marion said.  

He said Senate Bill 337 only affects those who follow the law.

"What are we saving or who are we saving? Are we saving the criminals? Because they're not following these regulations," Gustafson said. "You're only stopping the law-abiding gun owners from possessing what their Second Amendment gives them the right to possess."

Senate Bill 337 requires gun shops to get a license in Illinois that could cost up to $1,500 for five years.

It also forces gun shops to install video surveillance equipment and an alarm system to alert police about any potential break-ins.

"These are common sense public safety reforms, no less than that," Pritzker said.

The bill's sponsor, State Sen. Don Harmon, (D) Oak Park, originally filed the bill in 2003.

"I can't even imagine how many kids we've lost in the last 16 years because of political dithering over whether or not we should do this," Harmon said. "It will help, but there is more work to be done and we need to remain committed to doing that."

Lawmakers passed the bill in Ma- but never sent it to former Governor Bruce Rauner, who vetoed a similar bill in March.

Senate President John Cullerton filed a motion to reconsider the vote and then pulled it before Pritzker took office, a legislative tactic that allowed legislative leaders to bypass requirements for how soon lawmakers need to send the governor a bill after they pass it.

Every lawmaker southern Illinois lawmaker, including State Senator Paul Schimpf, voted against the bill.

"It's a Chicago solution to a Chicago problem," Schimpf said. "It's going to have adverse consequences for us down here in southern Illinois."

Several other southern Illinois lawmakers issued statements denouncing the bill.

"When Illinois Democrats say things like 'common-sense' gun regulation, you can bet that means higher costs and more regulations for law-abiding citizens," State Rep. Terri Bryant, (R) Murphysboro, said.

The bill also requires gun shops and private sellers to keep a record of their sales for 10 years and it allows Illinois State Police to create a database for firearm-related crimes.

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