House backs bill requiring gun purchases be videotaped, new dealer licensing fee despite opposition by three GOP legislators
Three GOP lawmakers seriously questioned Democrat-sponsored gun legalization during heated debate last week on the House floor.
Reps. Dan Swanson (R-Alpha), Tony McCombie (R-Savanna) and Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) all spoke out against SB1657, a bill presented by Rep. Kathleen Willis (D-Addison) on behalf of Rep. Deb Conroy (D-Villa Park) that mandates that gun dealers licenses will require $1,000 fee every five years, videotaping of firearm owner's identification (FOID) card purchases and background checks for employees who sell firearms.
While most Republican lawmakers had issues with the licensing fee being either too high for mom-and-pop businesses to sustain or either too low for the Illinois Department of Professional Regulations opposition that it was not high enough, Swanson brought up a whole new issue.
“I stand up to speak for the many gun dealers in my district and (those) living in western Illinois where we have a lot of hunting and fishing throughout the districts, the major concern is the Wi-Fi, and the capability to capture video to share with departments,” Swanson said.
He then asked what the recourse for businesses who do not have the technology to videotape the purchase of FOID cards as mandated in SB1657.
“Are you telling me that you have businesses in your area that do not have video surveillance,” Willis asked, adding video is not only promoted by Wi-Fi but can be hard wired in the premises.
Swanson said he still sees the bill hindering commerce since he has three major manufacturers who produce gun parts that employ 1,000 local residents and an additional 40,000 employees through the state.
This legislation has the potential to close them down, Swanson said, adding the second and third order effect of the bill could be very damaging.
McCombie stressed her concerns about the bill, specifically to members who do not own a firearm.
“It bothers me when those people get up and speak, especially when I hear a statement ... that as a gun owner who goes into a store and buys full retail and then supposedly goes around the corner and sells that gun to a criminal,” McCombie said. “I can’t imagine that really happens, and I mean no disrespect.”
She said wants to believe the intent of the Democrat-sponsored bill and all others that were coming forth were not to be harmful; however, they all make her stop and deliberate.
“This is a bad, bad, bad bill,” McCombie said. “It adds fees, regulations and costs but it doesn’t do anything to protect small businesses like you keep saying, but it actually hurts small businesses.”
Like Swanson, she said it hurts three manufacturers in her region and it does nothing to increase public safety, which she hoped was the goal of that day, before asking Willis a question.
“I assume you are going to disagree with the statements I just made, so my question is do you see this bill or the previous two bills having a decrease in crime and how many lives do you see saved from these bills,” McCombie asked.
“If we can save one life, that is enough in my book, because that life might be someone that you truly care about,” Willis answered, which received applause from the House floor.
Wheeler stood in opposition calling the legislation a “union bill,” since it is more than likely it will cause job creation to handle the regulatory process. When Wheeler asked Willis if that was the case, the sponsor said the department would not let her know, to which Wheeler said it is likely the bill could cause a whole division to be created.
“Great it will create more jobs,” Willis said.
After almost two hours of debate, SB1657 passed 64-52 in the House and was moved to the governor.