Six gun safety measures get approval from Illinois General Assembly

Illinois House of Representatives debate several gun safety measures on Wednesday, Feb. 28. (WRSP)

The Illinois General Assembly passed six gun safety measures Wednesday, and two of those got forwarded on to the governor’s desk.

Lawmakers spent hours debating the bills.

The one getting the most debate was the Gun Dealer Licensing Act (SB1657) , which requires anyone who sells, leases or transfers firearms to be licensed with the state.

It also puts in place safety requirements for dealers such as requiring video surveillance and background checks on employees.

That bill, along with a trailer piece of legislation (HB1273), are now on their way to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s desk.

The Senate passed HB772 Wednesday, which would create a process that'd allow a judge to temporarily take away a gun from a person who is a possible danger to themselves or others. That bill now heads to the House for consideration.

The House approved HB1465 Wednesday, which raises the legal age to buy an assault-style weapon to 21. That bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.

The House approved HB1467 Wednesday, which bans the sale of bump stocks. That bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.

The House approved HB1468 Wednesday, which requires a 72-hour cooling off period for anyone who buys an assault-style weapon.

The House didn't take up HB1469, referred to as the Paul Bauer Act. That bill would make it a crime to wear body armor while committing a crime. The law is named after a Chicago Police Commander who was shot and killed by a man wearing body armor two weeks ago. We've learned that should be called for a vote next week.

The House also didn't take up HB1664 which would enhance screening requirements to prevent people with a history of mental illness from purchasing firearms.

Rachel Bold, the governor’s spokesperson, released the following statement after the vote:

We will review any legislation when it is sent to the Governor’s desk. However, today we were encouraged to hear a great deal of bipartisan conversation about the critical issue of protecting our families. We are in favor of that conversation continuing.
We will work with the General Assembly to keep guns out of the wrong hands, ban bump stocks, make our schools safer and work with law enforcement to protect our children and families.

House Speaker Michael Madigan released the following statement after the votes in his chamber:

Responding to a nationwide call from students and parents for immediate action on gun safety in the wake of another tragic mass shooting, Illinois House Democrats passed critical legislation reducing access to assault rifles, banning the sale of ‘bump stock’ modifications, and licensing gun dealers to ensure all state and federal laws are met Wednesday.
“In the span of just one week, we have witnessed yet another tragic mass shooting targeting young people in a place where they should always be safe, and we’ve seen the murder of a Chicago Police officer who was killed while pursuing a gunman armed with weapons of war,” said Speaker Michael J. Madigan. “But we have also seen our students stand up and demand their safety come first, and we’ve seen people from across our state stand together—first in mourning, and then in resolve for change. Today, Democrats and a few thoughtful Republicans stood up and answered the call, but the silence from Governor Rauner speaks volumes and is reflected in the fact that the majority of his caucus opposed even these most basic gun safety measures. While the successful passage of these bills is a critical step for safer communities, it should have been a step we took together rather than another example of the governor’s failure to lead.”
The sweeping package of gun safety legislation passed by Madigan and House Democrats Wednesday includes:
• House Bill 1465, which raises the minimum age to purchase an assault rifle from 18 to 21.
• House Bill 1467, which bans the sale of bump stocks and other modifications like those used by the Las Vegas shooter to turn an arsenal of semi-automatic rifles into fully automatic machine guns.
• House Bill 1468, which requires a 72-hour “cooling off” period on all assault rifle sales.
• Senate Bill 1657 and House Bill 1273, which ensure gun shops will comply with these and other state and federal laws by creating a gun dealer licensing system. These bills will hold gun dealers to the same standard as many other licensed professions including car dealerships, real estate agencies, and even beauty salons, to ensure gun shops meet basic levels of security and training.
“In just six years since Sandy Hook, more than 400 of our young people have been victims of school shootings,” said Kathleen Sances, president and CEO of the Gun Violence Prevention PAC. “Meanwhile, children are dying everyday here on the streets of Chicago and nothing has been done to stop it. If these children were victims of a foreign terrorist, our leaders would spare no expense in eliminating the threat. If they had been killed by a defective product, that product would be recalled overnight. Today, legislators took a major step forward on behalf of victims by taking critical steps to protect our children, families and communities from gun violence.”
“Our work does not end here,” Madigan said. “We will continue this push for stronger gun safety laws, and we hope Governor Rauner will finally decide to join us to protect our schools, protect our communities and protect our children.”

Senate President John Cullerton released the following statement after the votes in his chamber:

With Congress paralyzed by partisan politics, Illinois Senate President John J. Cullerton applauded his Illinois colleagues for taking action Wednesday to protect public safety and urged state lawmakers across the country to show similar leadership.
“I’m proud of the Illinois Senate’s continued leadership in pushing for safer communities. We all recognize the need for federal action on gun safety. But in the absence of federal action, I want to encourage our statehouse colleagues across the country to do what we did today, seize this opportunity to make a difference,” said Illinois Senate President John J. Cullerton, who represents the state’s 6th Senate District in Chicago.
“And I want to specifically call on Indiana officials to finally do something about the flood of guns from their state flowing into Chicago and being used for crimes. If Indiana were to take public safety as seriously as we do, both of our states would be far better.”
The Senate President’s call for statehouse leadership across America followed the Illinois Senate’s approval of legislation regarding gun dealer licenses (HB1273) and creation of a process through which guns can be removed from people who family members believe are prone to violence (HB772).
Cullerton also stressed that annual studies have shown that lax gun laws in Indiana result in firearms flooding into the Chicago and being used for crimes. Between 2013 and 2016, 21 percent of the guns recovered by Chicago police had been sold in Indiana.
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