New Law Aimed at Increasing Regulation of Firearm Dealers Defeated

Naperville criminal defense attorneys, regulation of firearm dealers, Illinois firearms dealersLast week, a bill aimed at increasing state regulation over Illinois firearms dealers was defeated by a vote in the State House of Representatives. Prior to the vote, the bill underwent six major amendments. After its defeat, sponsor Kathleen Willis quickly filed a seventh version, although the spring session ended before a vote could be held. Concerns over the law’s potential to elicit unfair weapons charges continues to spark debate among members of both parties.

House Bill 1016

Under current federal law, gun store owners are required to obtain a federal firearms license and a state Firearm Owners Identification card which are issued by the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). If passed, House Bill 1016 would create an additional layer of regulation at the state level that would require store owners to obtain both state and federal licenses.

In order to receive a license, the new law would require firearms dealers to adhere to a series of regulations, including:

  • Participation in mandatory continuing education programs;
  • Successful completion of a licensing exam;
  • Five years of experience as a dealer or employee of a dealership;
  • Inspection of the premises at any time;
  • Obtaining a letter of recommendation from the county sheriff;
  • Payment of required fees; and
  • Potential participation in a personal interview.

Dealers would also be required to install additional video surveillance systems, equipped with motion detection technology, non-stop during business hours. In addition, all cameras would be required to be advanced enough to record the facial features of every person purchasing a firearm. All stored images would need to be kept for at least one year and must be available for inspection by the dealership and federal, state, and local law enforcement.

According to the law, dealers would not be permitted to operate a store within 1,000 feet of a school or daycare. The only exception would be for cities of more than 1,000,000 residents, in which case, firearm dealers would be permitted to do business in areas between 500 and 1,000 feet of schools and daycares.

Gun Dealer Licensing Board

The bill would also create a Gun Dealer Licensing Board to administer the law. It would consist of five members serving four-year terms and would include:

  • One member who has at least five years of service as a county sheriff or chief of police in Illinois;
  • One representative from the Department of State Police with five years of investigative experience related to criminal justice;
  • One member with at least five years of experience as a federally licensed firearms dealer;
  • One representative of an advocacy group for public safety; and
  • A lawyer licensed to practice law in Illinois.

All members of the Board would be appointed at the discretion of the Secretary and would be in charge of recommending policies, procedures, and rules relevant to the new law’s administration.

A failure to adhere to any of the law’s requirements would be considered a class A misdemeanor for a first violation and a class 4 felony for a subsequent violation. The firearms dealer would also be required to pay a fine of up to $10,000 for each offense, to be paid within 60 days.

If you have concerns about the new bills and how they might affect your right to carry, purchase, or sell a firearm, an experienced attorney can help explain your legal rights. Please contact the skilled Naperville criminal defense attorneys at Law Office of Glenn M. Sowa, LLC and a member of our dedicated legal team will help you schedule an initial consultation.