SPRINGFIELD — A proposal that would give the state more oversight over Illinois gun dealers could be among the first big issues that land on Democratic Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker’s desk after he takes over, and an aide says he’d sign it.
Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner in the spring vetoed a bill that would have required the state to license and regulate gun shops. Lawmakers approved the plan in the wake of the killing of Chicago police Cmdr. Paul Bauer and the high school shooting in Parkland, Fla.
Supporters contended that federal regulators are stretched too thin to regulate all the shops operating in Illinois. Rauner, though, called the proposal “duplicative” because the federal government already licenses firearms retailers. He said adding another layer of oversight would be costly for businesses and “do little to improve public safety.”
Lawmakers didn’t override Rauner’s veto, but they approved a new version. Likely knowing the governor would veto that one, too, Democratic Senate President John Cullerton in May put a procedural hold on the bill, keeping the paperwork off Rauner’s desk.
Now, Cullerton could release it in the coming weeks just before Pritzker is inaugurated Jan. 14, steering the gun dealer licensing proposal into the Democratic governor’s hands instead of Rauner’s. There’s still time, though, for Cullerton to decide to send it to Rauner or it might not work out for procedural reasons.