An important bill will be under consideration this legislative year that is critical to our mission. SB 1883 and HB 3422 propose the Gun Dealer and Ammunition Seller License that would require dealers to be licensed by the state, in addition to having a federal license. Gun dealers are the most important link between gun manufacturers and the public. They are also the largest source of illegally trafficked firearms in our nation according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms (ATF).
Current federal regulations do require gun dealers to be licensed, but lack of resources for oversight and enforcement has resulted in guns getting into the wrong hands far too often. Many states have determined that state licenses for gun dealers can ensure better results. We want Illinois to join the 26 states that require state licensing for gun dealers. These state laws enforce additional actions on dealers that decrease the possibility of straw gun purchases and theft from dealers so that guns will get into criminal hands less often.
Illinois needs this law. There are 2000 gun dealers in the state, but four of these sold more than 3000 of the guns recovered from crime scenes in Chicago between 2009 and 2013 alone. Other dealers had sold an average of three guns traced to crime scenes in the same period. We have to stop illegal gun trafficking in Illinois now.
The law would put into place some important safeguards. There will be a pre-approval process for an initial license. Once received, the license will have to be renewed every five years. All owners and their employees will undergo required background checks like gun purchasers must do. Inventory records and video recording of sales, as well as video security will be required to prevent and discourage theft and straw dog purchases. Stores will be inspected twice per year and inventory records compared to actual stock. Penalties for non-compliance can include loss of license, probation, fines up to $10,000 per violation and suspension.
I will keep you posted on the progress of this bill. You will be able to help by completing witness slips and sending emails to legislators. More details on this process will be in a follow up email. Sign up for our emails here (join us). Please look for it and take action as soon as you receive it.