CHICAGO (CBS) — State lawmakers returned to Springfield on Tuesday, and one issue on the front burner will be a push to overturn Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of gun dealer licensing legislation.
In February, lawmakers passed a measure that would require all gun dealers in Illinois to obtain licenses from the state.
Calling it “unnecessary burdensome regulation,” Rauner vetoed the legislation last month. He noted gun dealers already must obtain federal licenses.
Although the legislation had bipartisan support, it did not pass with enough votes to override a veto, so supporters have been trying to round up reinforcements.
Millie Burgos, 56, never intended to become a gun control activist, but when her 18-year-old daughter Alexandria was killed by a stray bullet as she sat in a Northwest Side kitchen, Burgos began raising her voice.
“She was the sun in the darkness,” she said. “It helps me to speak up, because I feel – for me – it’s a sense of comfort, and I’m hoping it can make a difference.”
Burgos is one of thousands of gun control advocates pushing lawmakers to override Rauner’s veto of the licensing requirement for gun dealers.
Colleen Daley, executive director of the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence, urged the House and Senate to override the governor.
“Eighty-five percent of Illinois voters support this, but the governor decided to veto it. So now we’re doing what we can,” she said.
In addition to requiring state licenses for gun dealers, the legislation would require video surveillance systems at any permanent dealership, and background checks for all employees.
Advocates have said the measure would help prevent illegal straw purchases, when someone who is prohibited from buying a gun uses someone else to purchase one for them. They pointed to a report claiming 17 percent of all guns recovered from Chicago crime scenes can be traced to just three suburban dealers.
The governor and Illinois State Rifle Association, however, have said the legislation simply duplicates existing federal laws.
Burgos isn’t deterred.
“There is a need to have a state bill, because by having the state bill saves lives,” she said.
An ISRA spokesperson said the legislation would be an unnecessary financial burden on gun dealers. He said Cook County first needs to be more vigilant about prosecuting gun offenders.
The legislation’s chief sponsor said he believes he’ll get the additional votes needed to override Rauner’s veto. The Senate would need a total of 36 votes to override; the measure got 30 yes votes in the Senate. The House would then need 71 votes to override; there were 64 yes votes in the House.