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Today marks the end of the Spring legislative session at the Illinois capitol. The House sponsor of the Illinois Gun Dealer Licensing Bill (SB-1657) chose not to call the bill for a vote. That’s good for those of us who value our gun rights because with the session ending, the bill’s chances of passage sag dramatically.


SB-1657 squeaked through the Illinois Senate by a single vote back in April. It passed, in part thanks to the Illinois Firearms Manufacturers Association dropping their opposition to the bill. IFMA quietly went neutral on the bill in exchange for a carve-out for existing manufacturers. Of course, IFMA closely represented the interests of the two companies that funded it: Rock River Arms and Springfield Armory.

TTAG reported on the deal-making just ahead of the NRA convention in Atlanta. Almost immediately, gun owner anger exploded against Springfield and Rock River.

Facing the wrath of not only everyday gun owners, but dealers and distributors, both companies found religion. The  companies fired their IFMA lobbyist and pulled out of their own now-tainted group, pledging to oppose SB-1657.

Springfield’s owner Dennis Reese and Rock River Arms’ Chuck Larson both appeared at the Illinois House committee hearing to oppose the bill. The embattled owners stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the NRA-ILA, ISRA, Guns Save Life, Illinois Carry and gun dealers.

Of course, the bill probably wouldn’t have made it through the Senate without the deal their lobbyist cut. Both Springfield and Rock River claim they had no idea the lobbyist negotiated the exemption for them, an exemption that would potentially save each company hundreds of thousands of dollars. Costs their in-state competitors would have to pay.

The last couple of weeks

On May 16th, the dealer licensing bill went to the House floor. Originally, House sponsor Rep. Kathleen Willis planned to call for a floor vote right away. That did not happen. Obviously, when she tallied her support, she fell short of the votes she needed.

She and her merry band of lobbyists worked tirelessly to shore up their support.

The Land of Lincoln already has at least four homegrown gun control groups and they smelled blood in the water after the bill made it through the Senate. This time, we also had to deal with national gun control orgs from Washington D.C.  and their high-pressure, heavy-handed tactics.

For two-plus weeks now, gun control advocates have acted like great white sharks with Illinois state representatives the plump seals. But the seals quickly grew tired of all the lobbying that, at times, bordered on harassment.

In contrast, our side has worked quietly and diplomatically to provide legitimate reasons for fence-sitting legislators to sit this one out. Lord knows the bill had all manner of problems for us to exploit. We provided them with plenty of legitimate reasons not to support it. And the bill’s sponsors couldn’t amend it to fix these problems for fear that it wouldn’t pass the Senate again.

In the end, we didn’t necessarily need representatives to vote “no,” just anything but a “yes.” Our tactful strategy paid off.

Now that the regular Spring session has adjourned, it’s unlikely that Representative Willis will be able to cobble together 60 “aye” votes on SB-1657.

The Illinois General Assembly, however, will meet each Wednesday for the foreseeable future in their never-ending quest to find a budget solution. SB-1657 could come up for a vote at any time. However, it’s unlikely all of the House members will show up when nobody expects to conduct meaningful business. For sponsor Kathleen Willis to muster sixty “ayes” without the entire Chicagoland contingent present will  be a tall order for her, even on a good day.

Again, we don’t need sixty “nay” votes to stop the bill. They need sixty “aye” votes to pass it. Right now, it surely looks like they don’t have them. And all those lobbyists from Washington, D.C.? No doubt they’re flying back home right now, glad to be out of flyover country.

I’ll share a little secret if you promise not to tell anyone: we’re glad they’re gone.


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    • Necessity makes for strange bedfellows – they’ve seen the error in their ways & they’re redeeming themselves.

      Not to mention it is preferably to have them and their checking accounts on your side instead of on the anti-gun side 🙂

      • Yes that’s true, definitely better to have them and their checkbooks fighting against this bill rather than their pay checks going to the antis and them cutting a sweet deal on this bill

        It will be back in a slightly new flavor next session, maybe SA, RRA and the big box stores will still be on our side when that comes back around (I buy good life insurance before you hold your breathe though)

      • Until they start making backroom deals again and handing money to every anti-gun Dunce-o-crat. If I know one thing it’s people. If someone is willing to throw morals and our 2A rights to the wind for money then they’re nothing better than cheating spouses. In fact they’re worse. There is no redemption, once a dirtbag always a dirtbag.

        Only a deluded idiot believes that someone capable of that level of treachery should ever be trusted again. Dennis is already on his 2nd chance, he went around bribing officials in the late 80’s and got caught. I wouldn’t trust Dennis Reese with a fresh clipped toenail, he’d probably try to pass it off as a sliver of Ivory. People that will do anything for money are prostitutes, and who really thinks a prostitute should be trusted for anything? As specially your rights?

        I’ve personally started boycotting the NRA (no membership payment this year) and any distributors along with local shops that continue to either support or sell SA or RRA products. The only way to HAMMER the point home is for others to see Dennis and his family in the bread line. When they see that they’ll say “Damn, we better keep our noses clean”. If we don’t they’ll say “Oh well, small drop in sales for awhile but either way no biggie! We’ll end up just fine, and we’ll get our carve outs too! Thank lord Satan for the idiots!”.

        All animals learn through pain. Since kicking DRs butt is illegal I have no problem doing it financially. Think this doesn’t work? It sure does, DR spent the money to film an electoral candidate production value video to say “We’re sorry. Sorry. So sorry.”. So keep up the heat or the next time you’ll be sold out even faster and without fear.

      • “…they’ve seen the error in their ways & they’re redeeming themselves…”

        “They got caught and have been covering their assess.”

        There, fixed that for ya’.

    • Unless they both together slipped a large sum of money in an envelope and handed it to the house sponsor. Then they are both traitors and not traitors.

    • Never forgive or forget. SAI and RRA are traitors. Once the spotlight is gone, they’ll sell out Illinois gun owners again.

  1. The residents of Illinois would dodge a lot more bullets, or end up not having to (both literally and figuratively) if they’d wise up and vote like they cared about their rights.

    • That’s the real issue – I’d say the majority of those who vote don’t know what a right actually is. And the left likes it that way. It allows them the right to deem whatever they want as a right.

      I hope they push bring back requiring in high school civics class. A primer on how the government is *supposed* to work. That will be fought tooth-and-nail by the left since it will entail the students learning that ‘free stuff’ is not an actual right…

    • This dreadful bill never got the support in the House that some expected, because many Illinois gun owners did exactly as you suggest. Phones have been ringing in Springfield.

      I don’t think we dodged a bullet. I think we fired enough shots across the bow of enough Democrats to make them realize this bill did not have the support of the people, outside Chicago..

  2. I would never advocate arson… but I would toast marshmallows by the light of burning Springfield and Rock River factories.

    Never forgive. Never forget.

    • I wouldn’t. I want to see the company sold to someone who knows what the 2A really means.

      If you destroy the factory, you destroy the lives of the workers and their families there, who had *nothing* to do with what the owner’s treasonous actions were.

      Not cool in my book…

      • Oh please.

        If the management at Springfield and Rock River actually cared about their employees, they’d be looking for new owners for the companies.

        They don’t care about employees. Don’t blame those of us who recognize the need to police our own gun community for quislings.

        • Oh please.

          I what alternative universe does management get to pick who owns the company they work for?

      • Why should we, the gun purchasing public, care about SAI’s and RRA’s employees when it’s obvious their employer could care less about them?

        Your’s is the worst reason to keep supporting a company. Would you pay 100% property tax? After all, it’s for the children. Please, think of the children…

      • John,
        HR100 just was voted on 94-9 so there is still a quorum. I would put nothing past Willis or Currie.

        They just adjourned but extended all items on the calendar to June 30th, assume that means SB1657 also.

  3. I still carry an xd daily, but if something big doesn’t happen in a good way soon, I’ll never buy a springfield product again, which is a shame, because I apparently am one of very few that will admit I like the products, other than the ugly xde.

    • I like their products too (I own 2, both purchased within the last year)…which makes the betrayal all the more bitter.

      I hope they learn a lesson from this…for the foreseeable future I won’t be buying anything they make. If I decide they have learned their lesson, I might in the future, but I simply don’t trust them at this point. That’s assuming this legislative monstrosity that they have enabled dies…if not, then I simply can’t reconsider at any point.

    • I like them too. I have an xdm and a 1911 loaded. Was going to be picking up an m1a, but not now.
      Got a savage model 10t instead.

  4. Thanks for the job you (and TTAG by extension) are doing. Hell the jagoffs can’t cobble an Illinois budget together let alone travel to Springfield when it won’t pad their wallets. Talked to a few Illinois (and NW Indiana) gun shops and they sure believe this failed BS could put them out of business…

  5. The Springfield and RRA ship has sailed. It makes no difference the outcome of this bill. The mere fact that two American firearms makers pissed on the 2A ended the discussion.

  6. I’m still waiting for my 50% off M1A and RRA 1911 coupon. This does not means you guys are truly forgiven. We will be watching you guys even more.

    But it is a good thing that this bill died.

    Can you image other non free state morons using this as a template to closing down competition and forcing people drive to far places in order to exercise their 2nd.

    Oh wait, I forgot that San Francisco ran out the last gun shop in their city limits.

    • While I can’t divulge what has or hasn’t been discussed, I will say I’m not pleased so far.

      • Fair answer and one I could honestly repeat. (I’m not pleased and, since I don’t know, can’t divulge). Is there any action we can take that would be helpful? Who should we harass with polite phone calls and letters?

  7. Where are all the prognosticators who predicted this bill would shoot through the House and onto the Governor’s desk like shit through a goose?

    I guess they were wrong.

    • Don’t count your chickens yet, SB1657 is still alive. It is still on the calendar and ALL calendar items have been extended to 30 June.

    • And you think this somehow mitigates the culpability of SA and RRA, I suppose. But you’d be wrong. They still MUST be boycotted into bankruptcy. If for no other reason than to serve as a cautionary tale for future would be sell outs. I’d settle for a corporate sale, in their entireties, to verifiably unaffiliated entities.

      • And you assume too much.
        I didn’t mention SA or RRA.
        They will surely reap what they have sown.

  8. What the antis are waiting for is another sandyhook and that way they can get a knee jerk reaction. Since we are in spring session overtime, they now need 71 votes (super majority) if the act takes effect before june 1 2018. No way thatll fly.

    Its a bad bill only meant to shut down gun dealers in IL. Itll die a slow death.

    • Nope. Simple majority. I believe the effective date is Jan 2019.

      They did that for a reason… to keep the simple majority in play.

  9. So does SAI get any credit for rallying the troops to help squash the bill from gaining support in the house? They made a big mistake, but are redeemed in my eyes. I’m sure their work with the NRA, etc. has helped stall this horrible bill.

    We should be keeping an eye on them going forward, but I’m ok with them.

    • Do they deserve credit?

      Sure, some. They did mail out fliers that have been posted at most gun shops (the ones who weren’t utterly disgusted with them, at least). Many, many gun shop regulars have seen them. I’m guessing some were spurred into action by them.

      It’s the NRA-ILA that does the heavy lifting on these things. They have many times more members in Illinois than ISRA and Guns Save Life put together.


  10. Make no mistake and no delusions. This bill will likely be passed. You guys need to prepare yourselves for it.

    • Theres no way. If it was going to, it would have already. Without the ability to amend the bill, willis is stuck with a bad bill that is full of flaws.

      They (the chicago reps/senators) try this every year.

    • JP’s right. This bill is a steaming pile of dog turds. And they can’t amend it because they’re pretty certain if they go back for a second bite at the apple in the Senate, they’re gonna lose.

      Deadlines mean nothing in IL politics. The only deadline that counts is the Second Wednesday in January 2019 when the new assembly gets sworn in and all the old bills get flushed.


  11. This state cant even pass a simple budget, let alone a sweeping gun reform bill as this one. Its a good reminder to always watch what your govt is doing.

    We all banded together in opposition to this bill, and i believe our roar was much louder than their whimper.

    I know the bill isnt dead…yet, but its gasping right now. They didnt have enough votes then or now. Theres a reason willis didnt put it to a vote and if unfavorable, pull it for reconsideration…she wasnt even close and she didnt want to show her cards.

  12. Pro 2A Illinoisans must continue to call, write, and email not only their reps, but all of these elected officials. If you enjoy your second amendment rights, you MUST keep the pressure on our elected officials. Do not assume for even a second that this thing SB1657 is dead. That’s what our reps are counting on.
    It is the duty of every Pro 2A Illinoisan to keep our reps informed with your displeasure on both SB1657 and SB556.
    If you can, donate a couple of bucks to the organizations that are fighting these bills with us. That’s really important.
    Most importantly, when you contact your reps, be polite, be clear, and be direct. Don’t forget to include Governor Bruce Rauner in your contact list. If these bills do get passed, Governor Rauner is our last hope, via his veto pen.
    As for SA and RRA, I don’t own any of their stuff. I have shot many different SA pistols, and never could get comfortable with any of them. Not saying their bad or junk, nothing like that. I just could not bond with anything I tried of theirs. Zero experience with RRA anything, so I can’t comment. Will I buy anything from them down the line?
    No, absolutely not. If you like their stuff, by all means, have at it. It’s a personal choice, at least for now. 🙂 if these things pass, you won’t be able to buy a lot of firearms you could before these bills.. Furthermore, if we lose all of our small shops and FFL’s, say goodbye to competitive prices and free markets.
    Finally, we all know the worst part of this bill is this. Criminals will not be effected by any of this. They don’t follow the laws like the rest of us. The bloodbath in Chicago will not be resolved by either of these bills. The only losers here are small shops, FFL’s, and of course us, the law abiding Illinois firearms owners and shooting sports enthusiasts.
    Please continue to press your reps. We owe it to each other, as law abiding citizens to work hard together to bring these ridiculous bills to an end. Thanks John Boch and TTAG for all you do.

  13. The really outrageous part of the bill was the limitations on 9 firearms sales/buys per year for citizens
    There is no other legal product that is limited to 9 purchases per year
    Magent if they try to limit you to buying only nine cars per year

  14. I learned a valuable lesson. The Truth about Guns was the only one willing to report about this. Every other “PRO” 2nd group hid this. I was censored on every other firearm news website. Even tried calling these groups out. And then The Truth about Guns was made to look like conspiracy nuts. Since this I have dropped alot of news threads. At least we have one person, one place that isn’t afraid to report the truth. Good job, wish you the best. My eyes have been opened.

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