Illinois governor mandates state licensing of gun dealers with new law

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed new gun control legislation – allowing the state to regulate firearms dealers – just days after he was sworn into office.

On Thursday, the Democrat signed the legislation meant to curtail illegal purchases of guns through video monitoring, tighter inventory control and employee training. It also requires the more than 2,400 firearms dealers in the state to show it’s licensed with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives as well as purchase a 5-year state permit – $1,500 for retail shops and $300 for independent dealers.

“Gun violence isn’t an issue facing one city, or one region, or one group of people – it affects us all, and I want to thank all those tireless advocates who didn’t rest until our state took commonsense action to prevent gun trafficking,” Pritzker said in a statement.

He signed the bill at an elementary school in Chicago alongside anti-violence advocates and gun violence survivors, according to his office.

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The move is already being challenged by the Illinois State Rifle Association. The gun rights organization called the legislation “another assault on our 2nd Amendment rights” and promised to fight it in court.

“The federal government already licenses gun dealers. There is no need to add yet another layer of bureaucracy on gun dealers,” the organization said. “The only thing this measure is going to do is make it cost more money for gun dealers to do business in Illinois, which is going to hurt the smaller dealers.”

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For his part, Pritzker said he planned to “continue to make sure that we’re standing up to the voices like the Illinois State Rifle Association and the National Rifle Association to protect our families and our children.”

Lawmakers endorsed the idea twice last year, but former Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed the first version in March. Another version was later OK’d by the Democratic-controlled General Assembly but was never sent to Rauner, who lost to Pritzker in the November midterm elections.

Pritzker reportedly isn’t done when it comes to gun control. He wants to pass a bump stock bill and an assault weapon ban eventually in his tenure, according to WLS-TV.

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Pritzker, 53, became the wealthiest governor in U.S. history after he was elected. He’s an heir to the Hyatt Hotels fortune and a Gold Coast investor.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.