Illinois Gun Dealer Licensing Act Fails to Pass

Proposal would have increased requirements for gun shop owners

Pollsters prefer concealed carry

Illinois House Bill 1016 originally introduced as an environmental bill in February of 2015, was amended to the “Gun Dealer Licensing Act” with the intention of making the process of buying a firearm in the state more difficult. That bill failed to pass, coming up short this week at the end of the House legislative session with a final vote of 43-55.

The proposed regulations would have required gun shop owners to apply for an additional state license on top of the ones they’re already required to get from Illinois and the government, along with other requirements such as more continued education and increased security systems on their shops.

Illinois gun store owners were concerned about both the bill’s vague language and its numerous mandates – such as requiring a letter of recommendation from the county sheriff before applying for a license.

On Target Range & Tactical Training Center CEO Bo Strom said the law would add numerous expensive mandates to his store and range in Crystal Lake. The Northwest Herald article quotes Strom as saying, “There’s some detail, but it’s so vague. They’re saying we’re liable to unlimited searches, and granting [the state] the ability to shut us down at any time for public safety. How do you shut down a multimillion-dollar business with absolutely no recourse? That’s crazy,” Strom said.

Smaller gun dealers, such as Marengo gun store owner Dale Rueff, might have meant going out of business. Rueff, owner of the one-man operation Dale’s Guns, was already thinking about moving out of state. He has bought land in eastern Tennessee and hopes in several years to retire and either settle there or elsewhere. Rather than try to meet the expensive requirements of this new bill, such as increasing alarm systems and installing more video cameras, Rueff said he would be more likely to retire and move.

While dealers opposed it, the bill had the support of anti-gun lawmakers, such as State Sen. Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, who said at last month’s news conference that adding legislation on gun dealers will help fight a “gun violence epidemic.”

According to the Northwest Herald, an Illinois newspaper, all five of McHenry County’s representatives in the House, four Republicans and one Democrat, voted against the measure.