Illinois House Committee Moves Strict New Gun-Dealer Regulations Forward

Bill headed to full vote, faces strong opposition from gun-rights advocates

An Illinois gun store / Getty Images

The Illinois House Judiciary Committee voted in favor of a bill that would create strict new regulations for gun dealers on Tuesday.

Senate Bill 1657 passed through the committee on a 7-6 vote. It will now be sent to the House floor for final consideration.

The bill would require that anyone who sells more than nine guns per year to obtain a special state license. The Illinois system would duplicate much of the federal system that already exists to oversee gun dealers but would add a number of additional costly measures as well.

The proposed system would likely add thousands of dollars in fees for gun dealers and ensnare gun owners who would not otherwise be considered gun dealers under federal rules. The National Rifle Association (NRA) has come out in opposition to the bill warning it will put many local gun dealers out of business.

"SB 1657 has nothing to do with regulating gun stores and everything to do with putting them out of business," Lars Dalsiede, an NRA spokesman, told the Washington Free Beacon. "Instead of going after law-abiding gun-store owners, Sen. Harmon should be more worried about Illinois's low prosecution rates and the short sentences for repeat offenders. It's time to start treating the criminals in Chicago like criminals and leave the already overregulated small business owners alone."

Supporters said the bill is needed to protect children and families.

"This was a difficult and a controversial bill, I know," said state senator Don Harmon (D., Oak Park) in a press release. "I appreciate the support of every senator who was able to put children and families ahead of the [National Rifle Association]."

Illinois gun dealers said the bill will do a lot to harm their business but little to protect the public.

"There is no aspect of this bill that will increase public safety in any way, shape or form," Bert Irslinger Jr., who co-owns Second Amendment Sports, told the Northwest Herald. The bill is "a duplication of things that already exist at the federal level," Bo Strom, CEO of On Target Range & Tactical Center, told the paper.