Bruce Rauner/Facebook

Governor Bruce Rauner Vetos Gun Retailer Licensing Bill

Mike Krauser
March 13, 2018 - 10:59 am

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed Tuesday legislation that would require gun retailers to be licensed by the state of Illinois, his spokeswoman Rachel Bold said.

Rauner told WJPF radio in southern Illinois on Tuesday morning that the legislation is an "unnecessary, burdensome regulation."

Rauner said Tuesday the measure would hurt small business owners and won't make communities safer.

His veto comes one week before the Republican faces a challenge from conservative state Rep. Jeanne Ives in the GOP primary. Last week, Ives' campaign criticized Rauner for not speaking publicly against the bill, calling it "the prelude to yet another betrayal" of Republicans.

 The Democratic-controlled General Assembly passed the measure about two weeks ago. Rauner has 60 days to take action on it.

The bill has the backing of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson. On Tuesday, Emanuel called Rauner's veto "a slap in the face to crime victims, faith leaders and police" who pleaded with him to sign the legislation.

"With one week left in his campaign, Governor Rauner just put his primary election ahead of his primary responsibility to protect the safety of the people of Chicago and Illinois," Emanuel said in a statement. "The governor's decision was cruel, it was cold and it was calculated to benefit his own politics at the expense of public safety."

The bill would require the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation to collect $1,000 from each dealer for a five-year license. It would require training of employees and videotaping in "critical areas" of the business.

The sponsor, Addison Democratic Rep. Kathleen Willis, has said that state oversight would identify and eliminate the practice of straw purchasers buying guns legally and then selling them to criminals.

But opponents noted that the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives already licenses gun dealers and its audits are time-intensive and expensive.

The Legislature passed the measure last month in response to a deadly shooting at a Florida high school and the shooting death of a Chicago police commander.

(© Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)