Press Release

Giffords Applauds Illinois Legislature for Passing Bill to Slow Flow of Illegal Guns

Despite veto from Governor Rauner, Illinois Legislature Passes New Version of Legislation that Promotes Safer Practices for Gun Dealers

May 30, 2018 — Giffords, the gun safety organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Captain Mark Kelly, applauded the passage of SB 337, the Combating Illegal Gun Trafficking Act, which strengthens regulations on Illinois gun dealers to curb the flow of illegal guns within Illinois. Yesterday it was approved by the Illinois House with modified changes after previously passing the Senate.

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 in the state to better keep guns out of the wrong hands. The legislation comes after Governor Rauner recently vetoed a similar bill even after lawmakers and residents across the state called for him to approve it.

“So far, Governor Rauner has shown he would rather do favors for the gun lobby than take action to better protect Illinois communities,” said Robin Lloyd, Director of Government Affairs at Giffords. “Unlike the Governor, the legislature recognizes the threat of the gun violence epidemic, and their determination to tackle the illegal trafficking of firearms highlights their commitment to the families of Illinois. Representative Willis, Senator Harmon and other leaders have demonstrated tremendous courage by building consensus across the aisle for this legislation. We are calling on Governor Rauner to listen to his constituents by speedily signing the new bill.”

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. 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. 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.

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 common sense gun violence prevention policies, including provisions that became the Combating Illegal Gun Trafficking Act. Captain Mark Kelly also met with leaders in Illinois to advocate for the proposal to help reduce the illegal trafficking of firearms through straw purchasers, keeping guns out of the wrong hands.