Governor Bruce Rauner today vetoed Senate Bill 1657 saying that the bill created onerous, duplicative bureaucracy that does little to improve public safety. He noted that Illinois gun dealers are already licensed by the federal government and that 2,700 small businesses in the state would be jeopardized by the unnecessary new layer of state regulations.
Update April 26th, 2018. See also: Death and Resurrection of Gun Dealer Licensing
As part of his veto message, Rauner was clear that the state is in desperate need of thoughtful, bipartisan public safety solutions to the larger more pervasive problems of crime prevention, school safety and mental health.
“The core issue is not which guns to legally ban or regulate,” he said. “We have ample proof that such narrowly focused legislative responses make for good political cover, but they do little to stop the illegal flow of guns into Illinois or prevent people from committing thousands of crimes in our state each year with illegal guns.”
The Governor said that to focus solely on guns exaggerates the divide in society over constitutional rights, when there is actually substantial common ground on which to build comprehensive solutions. He cited two common universal concerns: guns in the hands of criminals; and guns in the hands of the mentally ill.
“These are starting points that ought to bring us together for serious conversations about how to secure our schools, combat crime, and make everyone in Illinois safer,” Rauner said.
Since the tragedy in Parkland last month, Rauner insisted that bipartisan collaboration is the best hope of finding common sense solutions to gun violence.
He acted on that hope this afternoon by calling on the leaders of the Illinois House of Representatives and Senate to each appoint four members of their caucuses to a Legislative Public Safety Group. The Group would work with the administration to develop legislative proposals to support the following initiatives already underway in various agencies and units of the administration:
School Safety – The Illinois Terrorism Task Force has convened a working group of officials from schools, police and fire agencies and they are developing strategies to protect against mass shootings. The Public Safety Group ought to be ready to suggest legislative actions to implement their recommendations.
Mental Health – The Illinois Terrorism Task Force is also working to learn more about the complex intersection of mental health and gun violence, so parents, teachers, professionals and others can more effectively assess, detect, and report threats. The Public Safety Group will be valuable in ensuring the mental health community is fully engaged and legislation is sensitive to the complexities of dealing with diagnosis and treatment.
Interstate Crime Prevention Network – A wide ranging law enforcement partnership with surrounding states is being explored to clamp down on illegal cross border trafficking and straw purchases, provide enhanced data collection and sharing, and establish protocols for threat detection, surveillance, and criminal apprehension. The Group should be in position to evaluate the arrangements as necessary.
Repeat Gun Offenders – We must closely examine sentencing and bonding practices that allow repeat offenders to be released rather than incarcerated. Legislative remedies ought to be part of the Public Safety Group’s effort.
Concentrated Crime Force Deployments – The state needs to expand its program of deploying law enforcement resources in high crime areas so that they can mobilize for all-out attacks on the crime industry. The Public Safety Group ought to be ready to endorse funding requirements for a larger force of state police officers.
Economic Revitalization – The state’s most violent neighborhoods are also commercial deserts where the only discernible “business” is crime. As expanded force deployments push crime out of these neighborhoods, the state can direct focused business development resources on legitimate enterprise and job creation. The Group can accelerate the adoption of incentives to attract needed economic development programs.
“We have to work together to develop public safety solutions that truly make a difference,” Rauner said.
“Safety is not a partisan issue. It is an obligation, and we owe it to our citizens to come together to ensure their protection. I urge our legislators to join with me so we can get to work on this critical mission.”
SB1657 may be over ridden however several votes in the house and senate would have to change to achieve the super majority required to over-ride the veto.