SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today applauded members of the Illinois House of Representatives for upholding his veto of legislation that would have weakened gun restrictions across the state. The governor’s veto of Senate Bill 2104 allows Illinois municipalities to continue regulating their own gun transport laws. Many cities across Illinois, including Chicago, have stricter firearm laws to keep their communities safe by enforcing laws that they deem appropriate. The Governor’s veto, and the House’s action today, keeps those laws in tact.
“Many communities across our state are taking extra steps to protect their residents from gun violence. I vetoed this legislation because it undermines those efforts to keep their residents safe. I applaud members of the House for resisting the powerful National Rifle Association and doing the right thing for their constituents,” said Governor Blagojevich.
Senate Bill 2104 is one of three gun bills backed by the National Rifle Association (NRA) that the Governor vetoed following the 2005 legislative session. The other two bills would have weakened protections designed to prevent criminals from purchasing guns, and destroyed the firearm purchase database.
Governor Blagojevich vetoed Senate Bill 57, which tied the gun show loophole legislation designed to keep guns out of the hands of criminals together with a bill that would mandate the destruction of all records of attempts to purchase guns. Governor Blagojevich signed Senate Bill 1333 earlier this year, which closed the gun show loophole without endangering law enforcement personnel and tying the hands of prosecutors.
The Governor also vetoed HB 340 this summer because it would have eliminated the waiting-period for gun owners trading in firearms, allowing an individual to trade-in a hunting rifle or small caliber handgun for a military-style assault weapon without delay.
“With just one day left in the veto session, I strongly urge lawmakers not to make an effort to override these two pieces of legislation. When an officer uses the firearm purchase records, they have access to critical and potentially life-saving information to let them know whether or not the suspect they will be raiding owns a large stockpile of weapons. The data also enables officers to track down the original purchaser of guns used in crimes. Why would we take a valuable public safety tool like that away?” the Governor said of Senate Bill 57.
Continuing with his commitment to gun safety, Governor Blagojevich has taken the following steps to ensure Illinois remains safe for all its citizens:
- Signed SB 1333, which closed the ‘gun-show loophole’ by requiring gun sellers, who are not federally licensed firearms dealers, to request background checks from the Illinois State Police (ISP) before they can sell guns at gun shows. If ISP determines, after a background check is conducted, that the buyer is qualified to own a gun, the state police will issue an approval number that is valid for 30 days, during which time the sale must take place. Additionally, the seller must retain records of sales for at least ten years and make those records available to law enforcement agencies for criminal investigations.
- Signed HB 524, HB 132, and HB 35, which imposed harsher prison sentences for individuals convicted of a crime using a firearm. The bills included mandatory prison time for second or subsequent offenses.
- Signed HB 348, which requires State Police to report the name and address of a person who attempted to get a Firearm Owner’s Identification Card (FOID card), but was denied, to the local law enforcement agency where the person lives.
- Announced $3.9 million for Operation CeaseFire programs in Illinois, including seven $250,000 grants for communities that will receive funding for the first time. Last year, Gov. Blagojevich increased funding for CeaseFire to expand from five Chicago communities to fifteen communities around the state.
- Created an elite gun trafficking police unit to stop the flow of crime guns into Illinois. The gun unit works with federal authorities and law enforcement agencies from other states to detect and capture gunrunners and illegal dealers. More crime guns flow into Illinois from Indiana and Mississippi than from any other state.
- Pushed strongly for the state assault weapons ban currently being considered by the legislature. The legislation would ban assault weapons and .50 caliber rifles in Illinois, which are extremely dangerous weapons. The ban would outlaw weapons such as UZIs, AK47s, and TEC-DC9s.