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Revamped Gun Dealer Licensing Bill OK'd By Statehouse

Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois

The Illinois legislature has again moved to regulate gun dealers. It comes after Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed a similar measure back in March, calling it "onerous bureaucracy."

To satisfy Rauner’s concerns from the first time around, lawmakers from both parties revamped the legislation, calling it gun dealer certification. Instead of all-out licensing, the state would simply certify that a dealer is running a clean business. That, they say, would cut down on costs and red tape opponents took issue with in the first place.

Rep. Kathleen Willis (D-Addison) says the measure will still help to curb illegal gun sales, but now is more business-friendly.

“I cannot stress that enough! I stated that numerous times. It is not going to put a gun shop out of business,” Willis exasperatedly told the House during a debate.

Still, opponents like Rep. David Reis (R-Willow Hill) aren't convinced. He says the measure still restricts the Second Amendment, and would drive small gun stores out of business.

“I think that so many side on this opposite side of this issue come at this and think this is gonna stop all the violence," Reis said of his Democratic colleagues during debate. "Guns don’t kill people; people kill people. We’re making it hard for people to stay in business and that’s the objective.”

Even though Rauner has vetoed the only two gun bills sent to him this spring, state lawmakers are continuing to push for new laws. On top of the gun dealer licensing bill, they’re also considering allowing courts to take guns from dangerous people and whether to ban bump stocks.

Sam is a Public Affairs Reporting intern for spring 2018, working out the NPR Illinois Statehouse bureau.
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