Pritzker signs gun dealer bill

Legislation by Oak Park Sen. Don Harmon aims to curb illegal gun sales

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By Timothy Inklebarger

Staff Reporter

A bill previously vetoed by Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner to more tightly regulate gun dealers in the state of Illinois was signed Jan. 17 by newly inaugurated Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

The bill, sponsored by Oak Park state Sen. Don Harmon, imposes a number of new regulations that Harmon said is a "big victory" for gun control advocates.

The new law requires gun dealers to safely store firearms, make copies of firearm owner identification card or other identification and attach them to each gun sale, make employees undergo annual training for gun sales and open their businesses for inspection by state, federal and local law enforcement officials.

Harmon said in a telephone interview that he first proposed the legislation 16 years ago.

"I wonder how many lives could have been saved if it had been signed earlier," he said.

Harmon said that 40 percent of guns recovered from crime scenes in Chicago are traced to Illinois gun dealers, and almost half of those are traced to a handful of dealers in suburban Cook County.

"This bill will give local law enforcement officials the tools to better assess where those guns are coming from and interact with dealers selling so many guns being used in crimes," Harmon told Wednesday Journal.

Pritzker said in a press release that the new law is "a long-overdue step" in preventing gun violence and making sure "we license gun shops just like restaurant and other businesses, and deter straw purchases, so that we can prevent someone from buying a gun for someone who is not legally allowed to own a gun."

"But our work is not over," Pritzker added. "Now is the time to ban weapons of war from our streets. And like bump stocks, trigger cranks need to be outlawed once and for all."

A similar measure was vetoed in March of 2018 by Rauner.

Harmon said the Illinois General Assembly used a parliamentary motion to hold the more recently passed iteration of the bill until Pritzker was sworn into office.

"If Rauner said, 'The election is over, I'll sign,' then we would have sent it, but I don't think that would have happened," Harmon said.

Harmon said Rauner's previous stated justification for vetoing the bill "masked his true reasons" for opposing the legislation.

"He said it impeded on small business and other excuses, but they were excuses because he's a gun guy," Harmon said.

He said the new law is just a start and that there is "much more we could be doing" to curb gun violence.

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Reader Comments

37 Comments - Add Your Comment

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Bruce Kline  

Posted: January 23rd, 2019 8:48 PM

Well almost 10 years after McDonald: NY State Rifle and Pistol Association v City of NY. This is all set for the SCOTUS in October 2019. It's about time. It should be big ... one way or the other.

Ramona Lopez  

Posted: January 21st, 2019 11:34 PM

@ Jason. Clearly, truth is equally unimportant to you. You expect me to roll over and admit I was wrong about Feinstein;s statement, yet YOU have yet to state you weren't correct on your statement regarding "progressives don't predominately distrust the police". I'm sure Gallup got it all wrong and YOU were right though. Again, just another example of your arrogance and smugness Mr. Cohen. I did watch the entire interview and YES, the story was about assault weapons. With that, knowing a bit about Ms. Feinstein is important as well. Here is another quote of hers she gave to the AP on 11/3/1993, 2 years BEFORE the 60 minutes interview ""Banning guns addresses a fundamental right of all Americans to feel safe". Here is her quote again " "If I could have gotten 51 votes in the Senate of the United States for an outright (why use the word outright?, implies more than just assault weapons) ban, picking up every one of them . . . 'Mr. and Mrs. America, turn 'em all (why use all? Why not use words like assault weapons or bad guns as she has said in the past ) in,' I would have done it." so yes, not only are words important, so is context. Best of luck on your future endeavors Mr. Cohen.

Ray Simpson  

Posted: January 21st, 2019 8:20 PM

@ Jason - when you want to "severely limit the ability to own certain guns" who decides the who and what guns. If we have defined the problem group that answer is "ALL" and what guns they are prohibited from possessing again the answer is "ALL" Any effort to mandate what guns and what legitimate citizen will meet with massive resistance. Remember we are going to impact the problem group and that is not an opening to control everyone. This new law licenses gun dealers who are already licensed by the federal government. The Federal Firearms License is difficult to get and requires compliance with background checks, record keeping and general safe business practices.The new state fee is so high it will drive the small "mom and pop" gun dealer in southern Illinois out of business and have zero effect on gun violence in our neighbor to the East.

Jason Cohen  

Posted: January 21st, 2019 5:22 PM

@Ray, sounds like a plan. Let's acknowledge the issues you brought up and severely limit the ability to own certain guns. Sounds like a great move forward.

Jason Cohen  

Posted: January 21st, 2019 5:20 PM

@Ramona, clearly truth is unimportant to you if you won't acknowledge the painfully obvious. Did you actually listen to anything beyond that sound bite? Clearly you didn't because the interview is about an assault weapons ban. If we have a conversation about people being in jail for sexual assault and later I say to you they should all be locked up am I referring to everyone in the world? Clearly not. She doesn't have to restate the things she's already talked about. It's really unbelievable that you can't own your mistake here and move on. It says a a lot about you. You can hate her all you want but not for this because it's completely fabricated.

Ray Simpson  

Posted: January 21st, 2019 2:10 PM

@ Jason is seems that you are the one in a HOLE and Ramona just gave you a bigger shovel. Feinstein has said that she considers an assault weapon any one that "looks scary" In fact the proper definition of an assault weapon is a machine gun or fully automatic firearm. That definition escapes the loony left in their quest to eliminate gun ownership. All of this back and forth misses the point of 'what do we do about bad people who gain access to illegal guns and end up hurting other people? What do we do about judges who refuse to take gangsters and thugs, who do harm to others with guns, off the street? What do we do about a society that cannot teach their children that you don't need to kill the other guy to prove your point? What do we do about young males who have no paternal influence in their lives? All of these are core questions that are not even addressed in the progressive agenda - why, because society must accept some blame for a lost generation where "feel good" is the most important issue. This problem cannot be solved until we take a realistic analysis of the problem, craft a solution that solves the problem and then use tough love" to enforce our actions.

Ramona Lopez  

Posted: January 21st, 2019 12:50 PM

Sorry Jason, but words are important and her specific words were "Mr. and Mrs. America turn them all in". You are entitled to your interpretation as I am to mine. Speaking of snippets. The media on both sides does this ALL THE TIME!!!! Journalism is dead since all people want these days are clicks, views and ad revenue. We just saw an example of this regarding the march in Washington D.C. Over 250,000 people show up for a pro life march and the media doesn't mention a word of the march, instead a bunch of white kids from KY make the top story and it turns out when one looks at multiple videos leading up their story, it's simply another piece of left wing propaganda. Lastly, you and I come from different worlds Mr. Cohen. I work with at-risk youth, and in the last 15 years I have gone to over 25 funerals for children killed by gun violence. Rest assured, NONE of those kids were killed by guns that were legally obtained. That's OK though, you continue to stay in your corporate/academia bubble keep doing what you're doing. Your posts are written with an undertone of intellectual arrogance. You call others "puppets" and they only post "talking points", or have a "narrative" as if YOUR words are mightier than thou, intellectually superior and we should all just stop and listen to YOU. Of course you pound home the point that is debatable regarding what Feinstein said, yet not word when I post regarding a gallup poll that clearly proves your point of police distrust blatantly false.

Jason Cohen  

Posted: January 20th, 2019 5:14 PM

@Ramona, just to be sure there's no additional confusion. This is the problem with only focusing on snippets of content used for political falsehoods.

Jason Cohen  

Posted: January 20th, 2019 5:07 PM

@Ramona, you are embarrassing yourself and digging the whole deeper. She's talking about ASSAULT WEAPONS. Not sure why you insist on acting like this when you have been proven wrong. A sure sign of someone with a closed mind. This video only proves that you are so locked into your view that you can't see actual reality.

Bruce Kline  

Posted: January 20th, 2019 4:32 PM

Hey Ramona. I "grew up" with Sen Feinstein i.e. I lived in SF during the days when she was a member of the Board of Supervisors, way back when. So yeah, I've seen her operate and am skeptical of anything she says. That being said though, my take in regard to the YouTube video you referenced, is that she is referring to "assault weapons" and not guns in general. Obviously I could be wrong ... and "knowing" Sen Feinstein as I do I very well may be.

Ramona Lopez  

Posted: January 20th, 2019 1:54 PM

@Jason. Why don't you get our of your bubble from time to time and learn how to think critically instead of just spewing "progressive" talking points. When I research polls, I look to Gallup and Pew, NOT YOUR close friends nor mine to make determinations. Your methodology seems rather archaic since you are a "big data" guru. Maybe you should stop watching MSNBC and read legitimite news sources like The Guardian, The Post, NYT, WSJ, etc.

Ramona Lopez  

Posted: January 20th, 2019 1:48 PM

@ Jason. I guess I will be your research assistant Jason. Here is a link form an interview she did on 60 Minutes.

Ray Simpson  

Posted: January 20th, 2019 1:13 PM

@ Jason - it is not a matter of taking over the government - it is ours in the first place. If you cannot see government gone a muck look no farther than Illinois - Cook County and Chicago. This is a progressive state that lags behind every other state in the union and we can thank Madagan and his Democrat gang of thugs for that. You want politicians to define what guns I own? They cannot even define "Assault Weapons" , "Magazines or Clips" or the difference between " Open and Concealed Carry" They just see a way to put more tax money in their own pockets.

Jason Cohen  

Posted: January 20th, 2019 9:47 AM

@Ramona, well I don't know where you get your "news" from then because she actually never said that. Thank so much for completely proving my point. You are a puppet of the NRA and right wing "news". This is exactly the type of nonsense they want you to believe so they can push their agenda. Stop being their puppet and think for yourself.

Jason Cohen  

Posted: January 20th, 2019 9:39 AM

@Ray, we are all aware of why the 2nd amendment was put in place. If you genuinely believe we need to be sure we are all armed so we can take over the government then we have much bigger issues. Again you are saying these things as if I am saying nobody should own a gun which I am not. Of course the government should determine this. Who else would? The rules should be clear and then it's easy to enforce. In this country it's easier to lose the ability to drive then to lose the ability to own a gun. It's absurd.

Ramona Lopez  

Posted: January 20th, 2019 3:18 AM

@ Mr. Cohen. It is easy to say as a white man in your circle of friends that "progressives" don't predominantly distrust the police. According to a gallup poll, only 42% of Democrats had confidence in the police vs. 69% of Republicans. Sorry, but I trust Gallup more than you. A simple search on youtube will demonstrate an interview where Dianne Feinstein states she wants to ban ALL GUNS! Alderman Burke, another democrat in favor of more gun control, was found to have 23 guns in his office when raided by the FBI.(typical gov't bureaucrat hypocrite) Many on the left trumpet the success of the Australian buy back program and want to do the same here. One California Democrat stated "It's time to institute a buyback program instead, he argues. And to "go after resisters" who refuse to sell their rifles back to Uncle Sam." Granted, some on the left may want to keep the 2nd amendment intact, but YOUR leadership thinks otherwise. To call some on here who posts as "right wing" is an underhanded and juvenile attempt to delegitimize their words. Sorry Mr. Cohen, but your poll taken amongst your friends doesn't hold any water, and neither would a poll of my friends either. Lastly, I haven't had cable for the last 5 years. It was one of the many expenses I had to cut due to my property taxes skyrocketing, so I haven't seen a minute of Fox News in a very long time. I don't need some cable news commentator who reports the news via panel discussion to tell me how to think. @ Jeffrey...don't you just love facts?

Ray Simpson  

Posted: January 19th, 2019 11:23 PM

@ Jason and I assume the government will choose who the deserving citizens are and what guns they can possess. A quick read of the Federalist Papers will reveal why the 2nd amendment is there. The framers had a fear of a tyrannical government much like the one they had just severed ties with.

Jason Cohen  

Posted: January 19th, 2019 7:10 PM

@Bruce, I am not arguing the 2nd amendment. Let's remember that was written at a time when it took 30 seconds to fire a single bullet. We shouldn't act like evolving something like the 2nd amendment is off limits. My argument is the extent and level of oversight the government should play in overseeing this right. I am fine with deserving citizens owning certain guns.

Bruce Kline  

Posted: January 19th, 2019 4:34 PM

Interesting discussion. Thank you Jason and Ray. Here are some considerations in regard to the 2nd, that Ray brings to mind. One vote - just one - separated the 2nd from being an individual right vs a collective right. Why is that important? Because in spite of the doctrine of stare decisis, some SCOTUS opinions do evolve and may in fact "flip" (Brown v Board of Education, 1954 reversing Plessy v Fergusson 1896; closer to home the recent Janus decision). It takes between one or three generations for a "reversal" to occur, if its going to happen. Second, as a former long term member of the ACLU, I can assure you that their (the ACLU) interpretation of the 2nd was and continues to be that the 2nd is a "collective" not a "private" right. If one looks at how the First has played out over 100 years of SCOTUS decisions, it was not at all clear from the beginning that "free speech" would be - as apposed to most of our European peers - "inviolate" as a "supreme" individual right. In a similar fashion, I suspect it will take generations and many subsequent SCOTUS decisions to determine the full extent of the 2nd, and operationally what the "right to keep and bear arms" really and truly means. We really are, from a SCOTUS perspective, at the very beginning (the 1939 Miller decision was almost inconsequential in this regard). That is why Ray is IMO absolutely correct. There is no doubt that the present law of the land - gun ownership as a private right - is far from settled as to the extent of that right; and exactly what that right truly entails.(And for those curious: I don't own a gun, never have and probably never will (but I do go to the range)).

Jason Cohen  

Posted: January 19th, 2019 1:46 PM

@Ray, you bring up a great point. One of the biggest issues on the gun control argument is that we let states control local laws. If we had federal laws that everyone had to follow then it wouldn't be as easy as driving 30 min to get a gun. Let's eliminate guns that could be converted into automatics weapons. Let's have mandatory background checks to buy any weapon with a 5 day waiting period. Let's have any gun be required to be picked up in person and that no purchases of guns or ammo can be made without a background check which includes any possible mental illness or past violence against a family member. Let's keep records of how many guns and ammo people are buying so that red flags can be sent when someone seems to be stockpiling weapons or ammo. As far as BLM I am a supporter and I also support cops. I also support harsh sentences for illegally owning a weapon. Your narratives all come from right wing sources with agendas. I try not to be a puppet to others ideas. You should consider doing the same.

Ray Simpson  

Posted: January 19th, 2019 12:25 PM

@ Jason - Sorry, Democrats support "Black Lives Matter" and Progressives promote this openly anti COP activist group and The Democrats question the wisdom of the 2nd amendment and are willing to amend the Bill of Rights. That isn't from any ones talking points, it is from listening to what is being said publicly and in written testimony. As for effective gun laws, I have yet to see any definition of what makes a law effective when the problem group don't give a wit about any law. Project exile in Richmond VA was working well until Pres Obama determined that the greatest majority of people found guilty were blacks so the law must be RACIST. Chicago has the most draconian gun laws and I would never hold them up as an example of how to solve the problem. The FBI reported that Cook county has a long history of reducing weapons felony charges to misdemeanors and turning bad dudes out to ravage and pillage their communities. This seems to be pointing to a problem with our criminal justice system and its commitment to political correctness.

Jeffrey Smith  

Posted: January 19th, 2019 12:13 PM

Mr. Cohen breaks through the fog of gun worship like sun breaking through clouds. Facts a still best weapon of all.

Jason Cohen  

Posted: January 19th, 2019 11:17 AM

@Ray, here are two untruths in the comments below. Progrsssives don't predominately distrustful of the police and all lefts want to get rid of the 2nd amendment. These are Fox News and NRA talking points but neither are true. Literally none of the horrible liberals I am friends with believe either of the above. I know the ~7 right wing people that post on here all the time won't like hearing this because it ruins your narrative but that's the actual reality. What we want is effective gun laws and cops to be held accountable just like all the rest of us.

Brian Slowiak  

Posted: January 19th, 2019 9:32 AM

The issue is that by past precedent set by law, and mirrored by the school shooting in Florida high school,, the police, any police, are not in any way shape or form responsible for the safety of the citizen or the property of the citizen. Glad to be an founding father of the whackadoodle club. To Jeffrey Smith, I ask the same question I asked the supposed gun responsibility group I am a retired police officer who is privileged to carry a fire arm. If I see Jeffrey Smith on the street being beaten by 4 guys, it my responsibility as now a citizen to come to your aid. Ken Tratnor said he wouldn't ask for my help, Dr. Barrett said yes.

Ray Simpson  

Posted: January 19th, 2019 8:21 AM

@ J Smith - OK a challenge from an Oak Park "Wackadoodle" Please point out one irrational, disrespectful or dishonest statement made, here, by those who disagree with the new governors FIRST official act. I assume you have a visceral hatred for the elected president and I bet you have one of those silly "Hate has no home" signs on your front lawn to prove how you "RESIST"

Jeffrey Smith  

Posted: January 19th, 2019 8:00 AM

The scariest part of the comments on this article is that all of Oak Park's whackadoodles appear to be packing heat. But for them the misinterpreted Second Amendment is the holiest of holies, reigning over God, Man and Reason, let alone every other part of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. One word from Trump and they'll be hunting down Democrats and liberals like a scene from the Purge movies.

Ray Simpson  

Posted: January 19th, 2019 4:49 AM

@ Ramona - NO because they always have their nose in other peoples business. In a "One View" column here, Dr Barett , of the Gun Responsibilities advocates, claimed that the gun was a"Vector" He stated that the presence of a gun caused people to be violent! . @ Gregg K If this subject is interesting to you I would be happy to give you the quicky tour of marksmanship. Visit a range - shoot a few shots, see safety first hand and visit a gun store where the staff will walk you through firearms purchase requirements. Armed with that short experience you don't need to be an enemy of the pro 2nd amendment voters. I am not asking you to be an advocate for our activity - just not an enemy.

Ramona Lopez  

Posted: January 18th, 2019 11:40 PM

What I find completely bizarre is most "progressives" are predominantly distrustful of the police. They want all guns removed from civilians. So the only people who will end up having guns are the police they don't trust. Can they ever look past their own noses?

Bruce Kline  

Posted: January 18th, 2019 7:56 PM

Ray: These folks have no idea what the laws are because the laws are irrelevant to the ultimate goal. That goal is - as explicitly pointed out by Gregg, and implicitly by Wes and Ramona - the elimination of the 2nd amendment. To use the progressive Left's own jargon: this is a dog whistle to anyone who cares about the Bill of Rights. Yeah now it's the 2nd. But tomorrow, they'll be coming for the First. You know all that speech that seems to make many folks these days - particularly on campus - feel unsafe or uncomfortable ... that should be controlled also.

Ray Simpson  

Posted: January 18th, 2019 5:14 PM

In our meetings with the Gun Responsibilities Advocates we submitted a list of requirements that we would agree to. The "Gun Grabbers" were gleeful until we told them that those are the requirements that have been on the 4473 form for decades. Every gun purchaser swears to his/'her compliance with those requirements. The anti gun crown has never even explored what the existing rules, regulations and laws are. Just do something so you never have to do anything. We have thousands of laws that go unenforced so what difference will one more make. Only the legitimate gun owner will comply and they are not the problem.

Gregg Kuenster from River Forest Trustee Candidate  

Posted: January 18th, 2019 1:27 PM

Transparent Government is an oxymoron. The goal is to eliminate the 2nd amendment. Most of the folks in the photo will gladly say so. I have never owned a gun. I have never shot a pistol. I have no position on this subject. Therefore, I am the enemy of both the left and the right. Vote April 2nd.

Ray Simpson  

Posted: January 18th, 2019 12:59 PM

I am confused - The first law signed by the new governor expired when the new legislature was sworn in? Can he do that? If you look at the DOJ crime statistics you will find that less than 2% of weapons related crimes are committed with a gun purchased from a gun store. Our tax dollars could be better spent going after the thugs and criminals. To do that it would be required to define who they are and why they feel the need to kill one another. That research would open some political doors that we are not permitted to explore. All of these progressive initiatives are aimed at one target, TOTAL CONFISCATION and outlawing private ownership. We still have "Shall not be infringed"

Wes Gathings  

Posted: January 18th, 2019 4:02 AM

Like Ramona said this law will have little to no effect on the actual criminal just the law compliant people. I own firearms but I'm no enthusiast. It is easy to get a gun illegally in Illinois. The hard thing is getting one legally. The reason certain stores come up repeatedly is not bad business. It's location. A person on the Southside of Chicago that wants to legally fire a legitimately possessed firearm MUST leave his neighborhood and travel outside of the city just to shoot or patronize a gun store. I myself have bought firearms from and used ranges at Chuck's in Riverdale as well as stores/ ranges in DuPage and Kane. Chuck's was the strictest and most restrictive place out of all of them. Why do guns end used in crimes that were bought from Chuck's? Because Chuck's is closest to these areas. This idea that these gang members are just hanging around the gun shop and a well trained clerk should know it's a straw buy is imagination. I'd love to see some of you in favor of these regulations go through the actual process for purchasing a gun in Illinois and let us know how it went. I think you all mean well but honestly don't realize the violence has nothing to do with the gun regulations. The main people really affected by this legislation is the business owner and the legitimate customer. These laws will not prevent a 15 yr old kid from Englewood from getting a gun.

Ramona Lopez  

Posted: January 17th, 2019 11:45 PM

Great, another feel good gun law that will have zero effect on violence. Criminals break laws, that's what makes them criminals, what makes anyone think they obtain their guns via legal means.

Neal Buer from Oak Park  

Posted: January 17th, 2019 8:15 PM

Most of the violent gun crimes, including murder, are related to drugs. Why not just outlaw drugs?

Christine Vernon  

Posted: January 17th, 2019 8:02 PM

Great to hear of someone in any governing body, municipal, state or federal level, who is actually acting on a critical issue in the public interest, doing his job and earning his salary. The news out of our Nation's Capital is so disheartening. Then there is the domination of the State Legislature by a man who has the history of serving longer in the legislature than anyone in US history, demoralizing! Voting requires a certain amount of discernment about who we elect. It doesn't seem as if voters have it yet. Congratulations Senator Harmon for persisting in your effort to keep people safe. Thank you for doing something about the number one health hazard in Chicago. Thank you for doing something to deter gun violence

Renee Geweniger Zoltowski  

Posted: January 17th, 2019 5:11 PM

Alleluia! Thank you Senator Harmon!

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