The Illinois Senate will vote this next week on SB1657, a bill that would license gun dealers in Illinois and ration gun owners to nine firearm transfers per year. Yes, the feds already license and regulate gun dealers in Honest Abe’s home state as they do everywhere else. But that’s not good enough for the freedom-hating leftists in Springfield.
Instead, they want to set up an onerous and expensive bureaucracy by which the state can license and regulate gun retailers. Better still for them, their scheme would allow local law enforcement to hassle dealers. Of course, we all know the true motivation behind this ploy — to drive Illinois gun sellers out of business.
Chicago Democrat Senator Don Harmon claims Illinois regulates dog groomers more than it does gun stores. Technically, he might be correct. The feds, on the other hand, have plenty of rules and regulations on the books.
Harmon’s bill, though does a lot more than regulate gun dealers. As Billy Mays would say, “But wait! There’s more!” As mentioned above, SB-1657 would also limit every private citizen to nine firearm transfers per year. So much for transferring guns from an estate to the heirs. Want to sell a gun collection to pay for college or a financial emergency? Don’t sell more than nine or you’ll to more prison time than a South Side gang banger.
SB-1657 came about after years of Mayors Richard Daley, Jr. and Rahm Emanuel doing everything they could think of to shut down gun stores in and around Murder City USA. For years, Daley and Emanuel have ignored their punishing, pervasive gang problem and instead the city’s out-of-control crime problem on guns.
Their minions have protested outside suburban gun stores while Windy City legal beagles sued to shut some of them down. Every time, gun owners have stood up to oppose them and courts have sent the plaintiffs packing.
Which brings us to this “gun dealer licensing” bill. Unfortunately, this thing actually has a chance to squeak through the Illinois Senate. And while you wouldn’t expect Republican Governor Bruce Rauner to sign it into law, this is Illinois. Take nothing for granted.
If SB-1657 gets passed in Illinois, you could come to your state (if you live somewhere like California, Maryland or New Jersey). That’s right, if Bloomberg’s paid Everytown lobbyists think they can ram this through your state legislature, you might be next.
Here are a few talking points from the NRA:
“Gun Dealer Licensing” is touted by proponents as licensing gun dealers. In reality, it’s about running them out of business and rationing our right to buy and sell guns.
Employees already have background checks: We know of no gun dealer in the state where someone who works there, as an Illinois resident, selling and handling firearms is not required to have a FOID card. Most people working at gun shops not only have FOID cards, they have their concealed carry license as well. Just what exactly is the new background check going to find that the State Police missed in the FOID and CCL check?
Not merely background checks: It’s not about background checks on employees, it’s about requiring written exams, in-person interviews, apprenticeship type hours and continuing education. None of these have anything to do with background checks. It has everything to do with running up the cost of employees, running up the cost of doing business and piling on more regulations and red tape to either drive people out of business, or keep them from getting in, thus limiting the number of gun shops.
Sell More Than 9 Firearms a Year, Congratulations You’re a Dealer: Anyone who sells or transfers more than 9 firearms a year, and you’re considered a dealer. Want to sell off part of your collection to improve it or pay for college. Don’t sell more than nine or you are a dealer. Try to liquidate all or part of your collection, even by putting them on consignment at your local gun shop, you’re a dealer. The net effect is to limit the ability of gun owners to sell, trade or improve their collections. And, all of it comes with criminal penalties and fines of up to $10,000 per violation.
Two State Licenses Required: SB-1657 requires “corporations” to obtain a dealership license in order to conduct business. However, before being able to obtain a dealership license, either the owner or a member of the Board of Directors must obtain a dealer license. This means that there will be a minimum of two state licenses per these Federal Firearms License (FFLs). This essentially triples the number of licenses currently needed to operate as a firearms business in Illinois.
Licenses On Top of Licenses: Not content with Federal licenses, and the addition of multiple state licenses, SB-1657 explicitly authorizes additional licensure and regulations by municipalities and counties. So despite having a FFL, besides having two state licenses, they now may be required to obtain a municipal license and comply with a myriad of regulations beyond local zoning. This isn’t about licensing gun dealers. This is about creating regulations for the sake of regulating an industry out of existence, minimizing the number of retailers where Illinois residents will be able to legally buy a firearm.
Licensing of Employees: If the duplicative licensing requirements for currently federally licensed dealers wasn’t enough, SB-1657 also sets up two new “licenses” for employees. One is for “Dealership Agents” — people who have access to firearms. Another Dealership Licensee-in -charge” for the person who “assumes sole responsibility” for the license. Never mind that employees have FOID cards and most have CCLs. Forget the other 4 – 6 licenses or more they may be required to obtain under the bill. Now they want to “license” every employee who can touch a firearm.