Gov. Rauner vetoes bill to license gun dealers

ByCraig Wall WLS logo
Wednesday, March 14, 2018
Gov. Rauner vetoes bill to license gun dealers
Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed a bill to license gun dealers.

Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed a bill that would license gun dealers, which Chicago leaders had urged him to sign just a day earlier.

In a statement released Tuesday afternoon, Rauner said that Senate Bill 1657, which had been on his desk for nearly two weeks, "created onerous, duplicative bureaucracy that does little to improve public safety."

Earlier in the day, Rauner -- speaking to downstate radio station WJPF -- gave the first sign of how he would act on the bill.

"I'm going to veto the bill," Rauner told the radio station. "It's just not right."

Senate Bill 1657 would require criminal background checks for all gun shop employees. It would also require training to help gun shop employees identify a buyer purchasing a gun for someone else. Dealers and their employees would also have to take training to make sure they know how to properly conduct background checks, store guns and stop thefts.

Rauner said in the radio interview that laws should be tougher on repeat gun offenders. To make schools safer, Rauner suggested "highly trained, highly well-armed security personnel at our schools who are very, very talented and able to protect our students."

Just a day earlier, Chicago leaders - including Mayor Rahm Emanuel and CPD Supt. Eddie Johnson - gathered to urge Rauner to pass the gun bill.

Chicago does not have any gun shops, however city leaders are pushing the legislation because they say so many guns used in Chicago crimes are traced back to suburban dealers.

In a statement on Tuesday, Emanuel said: "With one week left in his campaign, Governor Rauner just put his primary election ahead of his primary responsibility to protect the safety of the people of Chicago and Illinois. The governor's decision was cruel, it was cold and it was calculated to benefit his own politics at the expense of public safety. This veto is a slap in the face to crime victims, faith leaders and police who have pleaded with Governor Rauner to protect public safety by signing the Gun Dealer Licensing Act. This failure will be his legacy."

Rev. Michael Pfleger, activist and pastor at St. Sabina Catholic Church on the South Side, expressed disappointment in a statement Tuesday morning.

Rauner's decision to veto "is demonstrating that he refuses to listen to the majority of Illinoisans and children and parents who have begged and lobbied for the Governor to hear their cry," Pfleger said.

Gov. Bruce Rauner said Tuesday in a radio interview that he plans to veto a bill to license state gun dealers.

The NRA released a statement Tuesday night saying, "The bills Gov. Rauner vetoed today were a dramatic overreach designed specifically to shut down as many Illinois federally licensed firearm dealers (FFLs) as possible. Now the law-abiding gun owners of Illinois need to let their lawmakers know this type of infringement upon their fundamental Second Amendment rights is completely unacceptable. Punishing legitimate businesses for the criminal actions of others is exactly why communities continue to suffer as their elected officials appear more concerned about making headlines instead of addressing the real problem; actual criminals."