Americans for Responsible Solutions Applauds the Illinois Senate for Advancing Bill to Help Slow the Flow of Illegal Guns in Illinois, Urges the House to Act & Save Lives

April 27, 2017 —  Americans for Responsible Solutions (ARS), the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and retired NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, applauded the Illinois Senate today for advancing the Gun Dealer Licensing Act (SB 1657) to help slow the flow of illegal guns in Illinois, and urged legislators in the House to act to save lives. The bill would give state authorities and law enforcement the tools to encourage better business practices among federally licensed gun dealers and hold corrupt dealers accountable to slow the flow of illegal gun trafficking in Illinois and help keep guns out of the wrong hands.

“Today is another good step toward making Illinois a safer place to live. In the face of calls for action from advocates and public safety officials, leaders in the Illinois Senate stood together to pass a responsible bill that will help help keep guns out of the wrong hands and protect the rights of law-abiding gun owners,” said Robin Lloyd, Director of Government Affairs, Americans for Responsible Solutions. “We thank Senator Harmon and all of the leaders in the Illinois Senate for advancing this responsible proposal forward. Now it’s time for the Illinois House to follow suit, pass this commonsense bill, and send it to Governor Rauner’s desk.”

Negligent gun dealers within Illinois fuel the illegal gun trade. From 2009 to 2013, 40 percent of the guns used in crimes in Chicago came from gun dealers within Illinois. But thanks to loopholes in federal law and a lack of federal resources for enforcement, Illinois doesn’t have the tools and authority it needs to combat illegal or negligent business practices that threaten Illinois families.

The Gun Dealer Licensing Act will help slow the the flow of illegal guns through a number of small changes to the state’s laws, including:

  • Requiring Criminal Background Checks for Gun Dealer Employees: Gun store employees often have access to huge inventories of guns and it is just common sense to make sure that the dealer and employees are just as responsible as the buyers.

  • Training and Education for Gun Dealers Employees So Our Background Check System Can Work Better: The bill would require training to ensure that dealers and their employees know how to conduct background checks, identify and stop straw purchases, and properly store guns to prevent thefts.

  • Ensuring Gun Dealers Are Held Accountable: Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) and law enforcement would have the ability to inspect the inventories of licensed gun dealers, so we can make sure gun dealers are held accountable for missing firearms.

Between 2002 – 2014, 14,273 people were killed with guns in Illinois, nearly three times the number of all U.S. combat troops killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined. A person is killed with a gun in Illinois every eight hours. In 2014, 1,179 people were killed by guns in Illinois. [Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence]

In 2016, Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords helped launch the Illinois Gun Violence Prevention Coalition, which brought together gun violence prevention advocates, faith leaders, medical professionals and others to urge support for commonsense gun violence prevention policies, including the Gun Dealer Licensing Act. Captain Mark Kelly also met with leaders in Illinois last spring to advocate for the bill which will help reduce the illegal trafficking of firearms through straw purchasers, keeping guns out of the wrong hands.