Governor Pritzker’s Gun Control Bill Aims to Limit Illegal Gun Trafficking
Governor JB Pritzker recently signed SB 337, which aims to combat the proliferation of illegal gun trafficking in Illinois. This bill regulates gun sales twofold, by creating the Firearm Dealer License Certification Act and the Gun Trafficking Information Act. The Governor’s approval of the bill offers Illinois a new weapon in the fight against gun violence that affects so many Illinoisans. While the full extent of this bill will not take affect for at least six months, over 2,000 firearms dealers across the state are on notice of its requirements.
The first regulatory arm of the bill creates the Firearm Dealer License Certification Act requiring all gun store owners to apply for a $1,500.00 Federal Firearm license from the Illinois State Police (ISP). Once a license is obtained, each license holder and their employees must complete state sponsored training pertaining to both legal and responsible practices regarding the sale and transfer of firearms. Each retail location must maintain a video surveillance system and post conspicuous signs stating that the premises are under such surveillance. This surveillance system must also include a monitoring system that will alert local law enforcement of any intrusion at the premises. In addition, all license holders are required to implement an electronic record tracking system to document the buying and selling of firearms at each retail location with all records to be updated on a 24-hour basis. This licensing structure consciously creates uniformity among firearm retail locations, ensures the integrity of firearm sales, and enhances the safety of patrons and the public.
The second regulatory arm creates the Gun Trafficking Information Act which requires the ISP to maintain a public database of all information pertaining to the commission of crimes using firearms. This information must also be posted on the ISP’s website and include: (1) location of the crime, (2) number of persons involved, (3) state where firearms originated, (4) the Federal Firearm Licensee that sold the firearm, and (5) the type of firearm used. This database will provide the public with adequate information to trace the history of a firearm(s) used in any particular crime.
In the wake of constant headlines sensationalizing gun violence, this bill allows local municipalities an opportunity to examine their own municipal codes to incorporate it by reference or adopt further regulations on firearm sales. Although, the Federal Firearm licensing provisions of this bill remain exclusively with the State, municipalities may analyze their own zoning regulations and local business standards to further regulate firearm sale locations, hours of operation, and electronic communication between surveillance systems and local law enforcement. Overall, this bill provides another layer of protection in the battle for gun safety by further legitimizing authorized firearm sales with the hope of deterring and reducing the illegal trafficking of firearms.