Gov. Pritzker signs gun dealer licensing bill into law

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Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a bill Thursday that requires all Illinois firearms dealers to obtain state licenses.

The gun reform law, SB 337, was introduced by Sen. Don Harmon (D-Oak Park). The measure also requires gun dealers to run background checks on their employees, maintain an electronic database of all firearm sales, and install video surveillance systems to monitor stores. 

The law requires those wishing to obtain a license to receive a certification through Illinois State Police. Gun dealers will also have to make copies of FOID cards, or other forms of identification, and attach them to documentation for all gun sales. 

SB 337 was a bipartisan plan to combat illegal gun trafficking, cut down on acts of violence and increase security measures regarding firearms. 

According to CBS Chicago, lawmakers have been debating gun dealer licensing legislation for 15 years. Former Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoted a similar measure last year. 

The Illinois General Assembly passed another version of the bill, but waited to make any moves until Pritzker took office. He signed it at Ella Flagg Young Elementary School in Chicago.

The Illinois Rifle Association released a statement Thursday saying, “The Illinois State Rifle Association is deeply disappointed in the action taken today, but is certainly not surprised.”

The association also said it will be “challenging this new law in court.”

Pritzker tweeted, “Today, I signed SB 337, my second piece of legislation. Thank you to the gun violence survivors, prevention advocates, community leaders and elected officials who have worked for years to make this moment a reality.”

According to the governor, Illinois is the 16th state to require gun dealers to be certified by the state.

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