CHICAGO (CBS) — What will Gov. Bruce Rauner do? That is the question both gun control advocates and opponents are asking now that a bill to license gun shops has landed on the governor’s desk.
CBS 2 Political Reporter Derrick Blakley checked in with both sides.
Jubilation — that was the reaction among most House Democrats after the bill to license Illinois gun dealers, long-sought by gun control activists, finally passed Wednesday.
“Yesterday really gave us that sign, that momentum,” said Rebecca Levin, who’s with the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence.
Momentum that will abruptly end if Rauner doesn’t sign off.
In a statement, Rauner said he’ll “review” the legislation, and favors continuing the “bi-partisan conversation” about protecting families.
For his Democratic rivals, that was not enough.
“[That] says to me he’s focused on politics, not doing his job. He’s worried about the Republican base for his primary, instead of worrying about what the people of Illinois need,” said State Sen. Daneil Biss, a candidate for governor.
Chris Kennedy, another governor candidate said, “For him to sit idly aside and make statements he needs to study a bill before he can show leadership on it, I think that makes him incompetent.”
However, gun rights supporters say even the bill proposed in memory of murdered Chicago Police Cmdr. Paul Bauer, goes too far. It would ban the sales of body armor and high-capacity ammunition magazines to anyone other than police officers, security guards, and the military. The bill has passed committee, but has not been sent to the House floor yet because it’s being reworked.
“The person in their house that wants a vest to protect himself or an extended magazine to protect himself, they’re the ones that will be at a disadvantage. So we oppose that bill,” said Richard Pearson of the Illinois State Rifle Association.
Gun control advocates remain hopeful that Rauner will lean their way.
“We’re confident he will see this gun dealer licensing act as part of a comprehensive approach to addressing gun violence,” Levin said.
Levin added that she’s confident of the governor’s approval, in part, because gun injuries make up one of the leading causes of death for Illinois children, and Rauner has been passionate about children’s issues.