Rauner vetoes gun retailer licensing legislation


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP/WAND) —  Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has vetoed legislation that would have required gun stores to be licensed by the state, calling it "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.

Supporters of the measure accused Rauner of putting politics over doing the right thing.

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.

Illinois chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, released a statement after Rauner veto SB 1657. 

“This is a truly sad day for Illinois. With a few strokes of the pen, Gov. Rauner could have helped reduce gun violence in Illinois. Instead, he buckled under the pressure of a gun lobby that’s becoming more out of step each month with the sensibilities of most gun owners. I won’t soon forget that amid a gun violence crisis in Illinois and growing calls for gun safety laws, the governor went out of his way to block a public safety law passed by the legislature.

Our lawmakers now have a chance to show the leadership the governor did not. We’ll be doing all we can to urge our elected officials to stand up for public safety and override his veto.”

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 can override the governor's veto with a three-fifths vote in each chamber. 

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