Within 48 hours of being sworn in, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed Senate Bill 337 into law. The bill was passed by the previous legislature, but Republican Governor Bruce Rauner refused to sign it into law. Senate President John Cullerton previously made the unprecedented move of placing a procedural hold on the bill in order to avoid the possibility of a veto under the previous Governor, Bruce Rauner, and then removed the hold to send the bill to a newly inaugurated governor. Cullerton’s political tricks means SB 337 will now establish a firearm registry and likely shut down local gun stores in Illinois with government red tape.
Senate Bill 337, as amended by Representative Kathleen Willis (D-77), will direct the state police to create an electronic transaction form for firearm transfers, which will amount to a registry. This solution in search of a problem will not only waste taxpayer funded resources, but it will also not improve public safety. Criminals, by definition, do not obey the law, and acquire the vast majority of their firearms illegally such as by theft, on the black market, or by straw purchase. A registry would not affect criminals as it could only include lawful transactions. The only purpose that firearm registries serve is to facilitate future confiscations of firearms from those who currently own them legally.
In addition, SB 337 will create onerous gun dealer licensing within the state. While the purported intent of this law was to enhance “responsible business practices,” this law only proves that the intention is to close as many federally licensed firearm dealers (FFLs) as possible. The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) licenses and closely monitors all FFLs and strictly enforces any violation of federal law. SB 337 goes so far beyond federal law in its mandatory regulations and red tape imposed at the state level that they will almost assuredly force the closure of most firearm dealers and prevent prospective owners from opening new ones. This law seeks to create so many department divisions, anti-gun 5-member licensing boards, and licensing fees that dealers will be forced to close through oversight by anti-gun appointees or being priced out of business.
Hopefully, Second Amendment defenders such as the NRA, Second Amendment Foundation and others will be able to block this through the courts. If not, it will set a dangerous precedent that will be mimicked by other states.
Do you think Senate Bill 337 will stand? How destructive will it be to Illinois’ gun industry? Will other states try to pass similar firearm registration laws? Share your answers in the comment section.
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