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Illinois Gun Dealer Licensing Bill Advances

The Illinois Gun Dealer Licensing bill just advanced out of an Illinois House committee on a 7-6 vote. It now goes to the House floor.

The committee hearing room turned into a veritable zoo this morning as a who’s who of gun rights supporters poured into the room. A number of dealers showed up. So too did Springfield’s Dennis Reese and Rock River’s Chuck Larson. The NRA-ILA had people there, and so too did the Illinois State Rifle Association. Yours truly found a seat on behalf of Guns Save Life.  Illinois Carry also came. We all stood shoulder-to-shoulder in opposition to the bill.

Who was absent? Jay Keller and the now apparently memberless Illinois Firearms Manufacturers Association.

Supporters of this latest scheme to restrict Illinoisans’ gun rights also turned out, many clad in colored t-shirts. The House sponsor Kathleen Willis came over just before the start of the hearing to thank them for coming. I, dressed in a suit, didn’t merit so much as a nod. Go figure.

The bill, SB-1657, gives a virtual blank check to state government to impose all manner of regulations on Prairie State gun dealers.  In order to make it revenue neutral, if signed into law, the state dealer license fee would be set at $5,000 per dealer (assuming only a third of regulated dealers quit). If two-thirds throw in the towel, that number would climb to $10,000.

For non-dealers, the law would ration everyday folks to nine firearm transfers per year. It would also enact universal background checks as it bans private gun sales between non-dealers. All firearm transfers would have to be completed by a dealer.

SB-1657 would probably have died in the Illinois Senate had the Illinois Firearm Manufacturer’s Association not traded their opposition of the bill in exchange for a carve-out for existing manufacturers. Springfield Armory and Rock River Arms founded and funded IFMA, which acted as their trade association/lobbying group at the Illinois capital.

The owners of both companies claim they had no knowledge of the exemption their IFMA lobbyist Jay Keller negotiated for them. They also claimed they had no idea of the tens of thousands of dollars donated to anti-gun Democrats either. This despite Springfield Armory’s owner Dennis Reese serving as President of IFMA and Rock River’s owner Chuck Larson serving as Treasurer.

Both companies have been lobbying vigorously to defeat this bill now that the whole firearm world is watching. Their efforts failed to stop the bill from getting through the committee. In fairness, they could have parted the Red Sea and this bill would still have made it to the House floor. There are at least seven national gun control groups working in some capacity in Springfield now (in addition to our own local orgs). Anyone with a room temperature IQ knows gun control is dead in D.C., so they’ve come to push the cause of civilian disarmament.

Stay tuned to The Truth About Guns and we’ll keep you updated on the bill’s House floor progress. It promises to be a rhetorically bloody fight.

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  1. I hope the two owners of the bogus Company Springfield Armory and Rock River Arms get an ear and a half full from dealers and gun rights activist. I would have simply told them it’s time for you to go the gun world of the United States of America is giving you the big F you Springfield and Rock River put that in your peace pipe and smoke it.

    • John Boch wrote “Who was absent? Jay Keller and the now apparently memberless Illinois Firearms Manufacturers Association.”

      Before that he wrote “A number of dealers showed up. So too did Springfield’s Dennis Reese and Rock River’s Chuck Larson.”

      So what he meant to say was “The IFMA were there minus Jay Keller”. Did they happen to rescind that carve out they got? No? Then they don’t give two craps and can burn! They are just there for the show. Sorry John, don’t try to help them slide like the dog crap covered snakes that they are. SA and RRA are done.

      Nothing they can do besides selling and firing all top members of the company will stop it. They could contribute every dime they have and they can still burn in hell. If you want to forgive them that’s great, but don’t try to distance them from themselves. It’s like saying “Ted Bundy is a nice guy, it was all that entity’s fault.”.

      Don’t try to spruce them up by acting like it wasn’t them themselves that committed the act. It’s beneath you John. It’s also kind of sickening. SA AND RRA ARE THE IFMA! PERIOD! I hope their families end up on the corner begging for scraps. When other companies see SA’s and RRA’s pain and anguish they’ll know “Don’t screw over our country, or we might end up on the street. Our wives and children begging for spare change, us wishing that we could go back and decide to do the right thing.”.

      People learn through pain, either their own or seeing others. Let the other companies learn so this crap doesn’t happen again. Ruger and S&W screwed up some time ago, guess a new bunch of idiots have to learn. It’s the circle of life after all!

  2. I beat the cosmic odds by being born, then even greater odds by being born an American, but somehow my luck ran out when I was born in Cook County, Illinois and grew up a firearms lover…

      • To Vyhus and his longing for a lefty bullpup:

        Dat PS90, though . . . Mmmmm…

        One followed me home one day. I had been waffling for a while due to the limited ammo selection and worry about how long it would be supported. My rationalizations were as follows:

        – The P90 / PS90 has been in production for 27 years.
        – It’s used by 40 countries and some 200 law enforcement orgs. in the U.S.
        – While not super common, ammo is certainly available many places
        – Ammo costs are not much more than target .45 acp and way less than .308

        They’ve produced enough and for over a quarter century now that I don’t think they’re going anywhere anytime soon.

        And the engineering and thought that FN put into it . . . Once you dig into the weapon system is pretty mind blowing how they did it.

    • I, too had the misfortune to be born near you – Lake County, that is. By the time I was four years old I had had enough of the hellhole that is Chitcagoland and simply HAD to escape, so I threatened, cajoled, and eventually FORCED my parents to move over the border into gun-friendly Wisconsin… What a breath of fresh dairy air!

      (Of course, if you listen to my parents tell the story, they’d say I had nothing to do with that decision… but *I* know.)

  3. You keep saying this, but I can’t find it in the bill:

    “Also, it enacts universal background checks as it bans private gun sales between non-dealers. All firearm transfers would have to be completed by a dealer.”

    Please point to the paragraph that imposes this.

    The bill is bad enough on its own (lack of) merit. We don’t need to misrepresent it.

    • Section 10. License requirement.
      It is unlawful for a person to engage in the business
      of selling, leasing, or otherwise transferring firearms
      without a license under this Act. A dealership agent other than
      a dealer licensee-in-charge may act on behalf of the licensed
      dealership under Section 75 without being licensed as a dealer
      under this Act.

      • The key phrase is “engaged in the business of…”

        Private sales that don’t exceed the 9 firearm-per-year threshold are just that–private sales.

        • If you’re going by the ATF, maybe. If you’re going by Illinois, which this bill is…

      • “in the business” means you have to repetitively buy and sell with the principal motive of making a profit.

      • I’ll bet that a State DA can argue that if you are selling/transferring ownership of a firearm for money/services that you ARE in the “business of”.

      • you let your buddy shoot your pocket rocket at the local range. Or you bring a group of buddies and you all try out each others gats. Or you let a son or daughter shoot your handgun or rifle. BAM you just conducted a half dozen “transfers”. Never underestimate the power of legalese and the ability of a crafty lawyer to bend definitions, especially if that definition is nebulous or has not been defined in the document cited.

  4. Time to make an example out of these companies. S&W and Colt dodged a bullet because the Internet was in its infancy and social media didn’t exist but let these sell outs bleed out.

  5. Illinois has a Republican Governor who has accomplished precious little in the last two years and who doesn’t want to alienate his base. My otherwise uneducated guess is that he won’t sign this pile of $h!t if it reaches his desk.

    And my continued uneducated guess is that every one of the names dropped by Mr. Boch above damned well know that. And they don’t have enough votes in either house to override his veto, and this bill has zero chance of becoming law.

    However, this bill (and all of the associated hullabaloo) provides a wonderful fundraising opportunity for GSL, ISRA, Illinois Carry and any other group that requires concerned, passionate gun owners writing checks to keep their lights on. We just aren’t as generous when we aren’t afraid of losing our guns.

    And if I’m wrong about any of that, well, prove it.

    • They need no republican votes to override the veto in the Senate (37 D vs 22 R, 3/5 = 35 votes) and need 4 RHINOs in the House to switch sides (67 D vs 51 R, 3/5 = 71 votes).

      There is a very real chance of the Governor’s veto being overridden.

      • It passed in the Senate last week by one (1) vote. And that was (supposedly) only after the IFMA dropped their opposition.

      • In Southern Illinois there are areas dominated by Democrats only because they tended to vote the way their coal miners’ unions told them to. The political landscape is changing down there, with some Democrats understandably fearing for their political future. Those areas are also very rural and dominated by gun owners. That’s why it was so hard to get even a simple majority in the Senate to begin with.

        • There hasn’t been serious coal mining in years in IL. I grew up in Southern IL, Glen Carbon (Valley of Coal). Last year there were less than 4K people employed in the coal business.

          Rural means less population which means less representation, in both the Senate and House. That’s why whatever way C(r)ook County goes, so does the rest of the state.

        • That’s right brad. It’s called Balkanization. The state senates are not like the federal senate, representation is based on population, not land area or district, but population. I.E. Mobocracy. Whatever the majority says gets rammed down the minorities throats – and people who care about gun rights in IL are minorities.

    • Curtis:

      You’re not playing long ball. Governor Rauner may well veto this bill today. What happens in two years when JB Pritzker is our Governor?

      If we don’t kill this today, I guarantee you it’ll be back in two years.

      You also wrote: “However, this bill (and all of the associated hullabaloo) provides a wonderful fundraising opportunity for GSL, ISRA, Illinois Carry and any other group that requires concerned, passionate gun owners writing checks to keep their lights on. We just aren’t as generous when we aren’t afraid of losing our guns.”

      Guns Save Life will not be fundraising off this fiasco. There’s little need actually.

      I have received no fundraising appeals from ISRA, Illinois Carry or anyone else (including NRA) about this.

      You wrote, “And if I’m wrong about any of that, well, prove it.”

      If you’re so cocksure, why don’t you join Guns Save Life and become part of our leadership team?


      • John,
        I joined GSL a couple years ago. Got your bumper sticker. Happy to be a dues-paying member and I like your newsletter. I also pay dues every year to ISRA and NRA.

        I haven’t been able to make it to one of your meetings yet, but maybe someday one of the suburban ones. Even those are a couple hours’ drive each way.

        Long ball? Is that what you call filling a hearing room and watching Chicago Democrats who hate our guts flip us the bird? I think there are more productive ways to play long ball. Fact is, the enemies of freedom in Illinois could introduce this bill again next year and every year, regardless who’s Governor, and regardless what happens this week or next week in the House.

        I do appreciate what you do. The cynical nature of my previous message may have been uncalled for. But I see a lot of wasted energy over a bill that’s destined for the veto dust bin.

  6. At first I didn’t think it mattered what SA and RRA arm did because I still won’t forgive them. But Now I think they should promise to leave the state if this is passed. Every politician must know that they are voting for thousands of jobs to leave the state if this is passed.

    • They should leave the state and let everyone else who stays behind to suffer and deal with the mess THEY helped create? Yeah, that will teach ’em! That makes no sense.

  7. Meanwhile, on the Left coast, where gun buyers have been limited to one handgun every thirty days, a bill is pending to extend that restriction to long arms as well, which currently have no such restriction. I don’t know if that means 12 long guns and 12 handguns a year (for those avid collectors) or just 12 of all guns a year, but I have to assume the worst. It is fair to assume that it will progress rapidly through both houses. This same bill has been vetoed lat year by Governor Brown, but he has been fickle in the past.

  8. I have an entirely serious question …

    What if an organization:
    (a) Claimed that Jews were injuring and murdering more than 40,000 people every year.
    (b) Claimed that we would reduce that number to a few thousand if we implemented “free speech safety” laws designed to stop Jews from using social media, websites, and posters that foment and coordinate attacks.
    (c) Lobbied government to require universal background checks before Jews could use social media, websites, and posters.
    (d) Lobbied government to require a special license costing over $5,000 per year for anyone who wished to sell computers, printers, paper, markers, web development software, smart phones, tablets, etc. to Jews.
    (e) Lobbied government to limit social media posts, website posts, and posters to no more than 9 per year for Jews.
    (f) Lobbied government to impose outrageous fines and years of prison time for violations of above.

    How could we view such an organization as anything other than pure tyrannical evil who has nothing but utter contempt for Jews and whose goal is to subjugate Jews? And why would we not move with all possible resources and methods to eliminate such an organization?

  9. I hope for the best but expect the worst. F*#k Illinois… because I’m not wealthy this will not affect me unduly. Not relavent as Illinois residents and FFL’s will NEVER forget the treachery.

  10. The only way the people of Illinois are going to win, is if they lock and load and pop some domes. Only when the representatives understand that they have something to lose, will they stop taking people’s freedom away in exchange for more government power/authority.

    • The path to victory for POTG in Illinois (and NY, NJ, CA) is making Chicago and other large progressive cities their own independent political units. I see momentum for this gathering in the near future on both sides of the isle.

  11. Have a copy of an ad from a farm and home store based out of Illinois. Springfield Arms is offering 4 extra mags,a dual mag holder and a holster if you buy one of their pistols plus 10% off. Looks like they are trying to bribe their way back into gun buyers hearts. Won’t work for me. Move out of Illinois or Die.

    • They were running the mag, holder, holster deal before all this started. I think the 10% may be the dealer trying to clear out inventory while he can.

  12. 9 transfers a year! You make me ashamed of being a Southern Illinoisan (we don’t claim anything north) ! Serious skullfuckery going on !

  13. Does the nine transfers cover all transfers or just sales?

    Like, could you sell nine and but whatever or if you sold four would you be limited to buying five?

    • From what I’ve been able to decipher, any combination of 9. All transfers would have to go through a state approved FFL. So give away 3, sell 3, buy 3, equals 9.

    • Brad beat me to it.

      The bill gives state agencies a lot of leeway to define “transfers”.

      For instance, if I can’t make a class and give a box with 15 loaner guns to another instructor for the weekend, I could see anti-gun leftists terming that a transfer of 15 guns.


  14. So this bill would actually do away with private gun sale between two Illinois gun owners with FOID cards?? Currently one has to go to Illinois State Police website to enter FOID card number of potential purchaser to verify that their FOID is currently valid and if so a code valid for 30 days is issued and the sale can go through after appropriate waiting period. It sounds like that will no longer be an option?

  15. The sponsors of this bill have made it clear that its intent is to run 3 suburban gun shops out of business – Chuck’s; Shore Galleries; and Midwest. The sponsors’ objective is entirely racially motivated. Closing those three shops will make it more difficult for law-abiding Black and Hispanic people to lawfully acquire firearms. There’s a lot of stupid White gun owners that think Senator Harmon’s plan is just hunky dory. What they don’t understand is that the cost of compliance with Harmon’s bill will eventually put every independent gun shop in the state out of business. The carve-out for big-box stores means that they’ll survive and you may rest assured that they’ll be completely stocked with replicas, airsoft guns, and Red Ryders. Don’t be fooled – Don Harmon’s bill is all about denying Black and Hispanic people their right to keep and bear arms. This is just another example of the White liberal establishment baring its soft racist underbelly.

  16. This is really messed up because I have my eye on the XDe, would have been my first Springfield. So the deal for me is : if the bill passes than I am going to pass too. If it fails I’d like to think Springfield will not make the same mistake twice and will become a stronger advocate for us. Then I think I will get the Springfield.

    • Almost felt bad for just purchasing A Springfield Armory. Then I realized it is a 1945 M1 Garand. Didn’t realize until recently that this current company is Springfield Armory IN NAME ONLY (SAINO?) and not the historical one from 1777 until its closing in 1968. I’m sure the original one would never step on 2nd Amendment Rights. How times change.

  17. Maybe we should have spoken up a bit more when Rauner spent big bucks trying to get 2nd Amendment-friendly Democrat Rep Brandon Phelps, lead sponsor of the successful concealed-carry bill, beat in the last election.

  18. New for 2017, the SB legislation. The SB-1657 reinvented – the most important Illinois state bill to put gun shops out of business.

    Instead of a state bill about gun shops how about a state bill for promoting genuine firearm safety through the distribution of more safety education and free firearm safety kits to communities across Illinois.

    NSSF ( Own it? Respect it. Secure it.

  19. Those elected officials are doing what they campaigned on! Conservatives should learn the game of the opposing team and win the small courtroom cases!


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