As you may have heard, Springfield Armory and Rock River Arms cut a deal with the Illinois Senate to avoid a licensing scheme. SB-1657 has passed the State Senate. If signed into law, the bill will require all Land of Lincoln gun dealers — save big box retailers (who also got a carve-out) — to apply to the state for a license to operate.
The bill is intentionally vague about what requirements an Illinois FFL will have to satisfy to do business in the state. It could be almost anything. One thing we can surmise without fear of contradiction: it will involve a licensing fee.
Given that the Illinois state legislature’s position on firearms freedom (they’re against it), it’s also safe to say that the licensing provisions will not please gun dealers or gun rights-loving residents. What could happen? History is our guide . . .
Back before New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg lost interest in his anti-gun organization Mayors Against Illegal Guns — which may have had something to do with all the MAIG member mayors indicted and/or convicted on various corruption and other criminal charges — Mayor Mike’s minions created the Responsible Firearms Retail Partnership (RFRP).
[Don’t bother following that link. MAIG killed the RFRP, opting to use Mikey’s millions to buy Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America (born as the Million Mom March for Gun Control). And create and promote Everytown for Gun Safety].
TTAG highlighted the RFRP back in October 19, 2010 in our post Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Wal-Mart Stonewall TTAG. We included the RFRP’s entire ten-point plan. Here it is:
RESPONSIBLE FIREARMS RETAILER PARTNERSHIP:
A 10-Point Voluntary Code
1. Videotaping the Point of Sale for All Firearms Transactions. Participating retailers will videotape the point-of-sale of all firearms transactions and maintain videos for 6 months to deter illegal purchases and monitor employees.
2. Computerized Crime Gun Trace Log and Alert System. Participating retailers will maintain a computerized log of crime gun traces relating to the retailer. Once the program is in place, if a customer who has a prior trace at that retailer attempts to purchase a firearm, the sale will be electronically flagged. The retailer would have discretion to proceed with the sale or stop the sale.
3. Purchaser Declaration. For sales flagged by the trace alert system, participating retailers will ask purchasers to fill out a declaration indicating that they meet the legal requirement to purchase the firearm.
4. Deterring Fake IDs. Participating retailers will only accept valid federal- or state-issued picture IDs as primary identification. Retailers will utilize additional ID checking mechanisms.
5. Consistent Visible Signage. Participating retailers will post signage created by the Responsible Firearms Retailer Partnership to alert customers of their legal responsibilities at the point-of-sale.
6. Employee Background Checks. Participating retailers will conduct criminal background checks for all employees selling or handling firearms.
7. Employee Responsibility Training. Participating retailers will participate in an employee responsibility training program focused on deterring illegal purchasers. The Responsible Firearms Retailer Partnership will create an online training system based on Wal-Mart’s training program.
8. Inventory Checking. Participating retailers will conduct daily and quarterly audits. Guidelines will be based on Wal-Mart’s firearms audit check procedures.
9. No Sales Without Background Check Results. Participating retailers would prohibit sales based on “default proceeds,” which are permitted by law when the background check has not returned a result within 3 days.
10. Securing Firearms. Participating retailers will maintain firearms kept in customer accessible areas in locked cases or locked to racks.
Wal-Mart didn’t implement the plan. Would Illinois? I have no doubt that Bloomberg’s Responsible Firearms Retail Partnership is a template for Illinois’ [small] gun dealer licensing scheme.
Did Springfield and Rock River Arms (let alone IFMA lobbyist Jay Keller) do their homework on the anti-gun rights potential of the licensing scheme? Or did they simply think, who cares? Bullet dodged. Given the blowback against the gunmakers for their decision to negotiate a carve-out with State Senator Don Harmon, they dodged a bullet only to face a howitzer.
In any case, SB-1657 is a clear and present danger to Illinois residents’ natural, civil and constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. Anyone who supports the bill, as Springfield and Rock River Arm did by dropping their opposition, is no friend of gun rights.