Illinois General Assembly Begins To Exercise Its Exclusive Authority Over Firearms

Author:Mr Steven M. Elrod
Profession:Holland & Knight
 
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Steven Elrod is a Partner in the Chicago office

HIGHLIGHTS:

The Illinois General Assembly has approved a bill that, if signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner, would make it unlawful for a person to engage in the business of selling, leasing or otherwise transferring firearms without a license issued by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. The Gun Dealer Licensing Act, adopted by both the House and the Senate, also imposes distance requirements for businesses that receive a license. Specifically, the premises where a gun dealer licensee operates cannot be located within 500 feet of any school, preschool or daycare facility. Importantly for local governments, the Act specifically provides that it "does not limit the authority of a local government to impose and enforce additional limits on the location of a business regulated under this Act." This is a noteworthy action for a state legislature that has, as a collective body, remained relatively quiet since it boldly proclaimed in 2013 that it alone has the authority and the ability to regulate firearms in Illinois, and at the same time prohibited the ability of local governments, including home rule units, to regulate the subject matter. The Illinois General Assembly on Feb. 28, 2018, approved a bill that, if signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner, would constitute its first exercise of gun regulation authority since it notoriously reserved all such regulation exclusively to itself in 2013.

Senate Bill (SB) 1657, adopted by both the House and the Senate, is known as the Gun Dealer Licensing Act and makes it unlawful for a person to engage in the business of selling, leasing or otherwise transferring firearms without a license issued by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. The Act also imposes distance requirements for businesses that receive a license. Specifically, the premises where a gun dealer licensee operates cannot be located within 500 feet of any school, preschool or daycare facility. Importantly for local governments, the Act specifically provides that it "does not limit the authority of a local government to impose and enforce additional limits on the location of a business regulated under this Act."

This is a noteworthy action for a state legislature that has, as a collective body, remained relatively quiet since it boldly proclaimed in 2013 that it alone has the authority and the ability to regulate firearms in Illinois, and at the same time prohibited...

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