Despite GOP's concerns, gun bill passes Senate
Sen. Neil Anderson (R-Moline) rose during the May 30 Senate floor debate and argued against a firearm bill.
SB 337, which is sponsored by Sen. Don Harmon (D-Oak Park), would create the Gun Dealer Licensing Act, a bill that Anderson said he appreciated, but could not support based on its heavy Firearm Owner Identification Card (FOID) restrictions.
“I know your intention is good with this,” Anderson said.
However, the two colleagues fundamentally differ on the issue.
“When it comes to gun dealers, there is no state with more red tape than the state of Illinois,” Anderson said.
Between Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) reviews, the FOID system is strong enough, Anderson said, adding that card holders are checked 365 days per year.
“And if you have a concealed-carry card, you are literally checked twice every day of the year,” Anderson said.
The best way to fix their fundamental differences, Anderson said, is to hold criminals who commit violent acts with guns more accountable.
“And the way we do that is to hold the judges that allow them to plea out and give them lesser sentences accountable,” Anderson said.
Like Anderson, Sen. Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington) noted that he also differs in opinion and said the statement about no gun registry being available was incorrect.
“The amendment incorporates a requirement that state police will in fact establish a form on its website to collect data about transfers of firearms among parties,” Barickman said. “But even more importantly is the fact that people’ privacy is not protected here.”
After Barickman urged a "no" vote, Sen. Chris Nybo (R-Elmhurst) said the gun registry clause is a classic red herring.
“There was no intent to create a registry,” Nybo said.
Additionally, Illinois is not one of the strictest gun states, he added.
“In fact, we are in the minority,” Nybo said. “Most states have something like this.”
Sen. Jil Tracy (R-Quincy) expressed her concerns about the bill not addressing Missouri, Kentucky, Iowa or any surrounding states.
“In fact, I don’t think Chicago, Illinois is that far from Indiana,” she added as she began to raise her voice.
In conclusion, Sen. Paul Schimpf (R-Waterloo) said he opposed the bill for three reasons, including big-box stores receiving better treatment than mom-and-pop shops, the bill diminishing constitutional rights and the legislation's expansion of the government.
“It’s because of those reasons that I would ask for a no vote," he said.
Despite the GOP's concerns, SB 337 passed 35-20 and moved to Gov. Bruce Rauner's desk for consideration.