Today, Governor Rauner vetoed a gun dealer licensing bill (SB 1657) that created onerous, duplicative bureaucracy that does little to improve public safety. Gun dealers in Illinois are already licensed by the Federal government and another layer of regulation would only serve to jeopardize 2,700 law abiding small businesses in the state.
The veto should not distract us from the larger issue. Illinois is in desperate need of thoughtful, bipartisan public safety solutions to the pervasive problems of crime prevention, school safety and mental health.
The core issue is not about which guns to legally ban or regulate. We have ample proof that weapons-focused legislative responses to violence do little to stop the illegal flow of guns into Illinois or prevent people from committing crimes in our state with illegal guns.
When we focus solely on guns, we become afflicted by a form of tunnel vision that causes us to ignore two universal and bipartisan concerns: guns in the hands of criminals; and guns in the hands of the mentally ill.
These common concerns ought to bring us together for serious conversations about how to secure our schools, combat crime, and make everyone in Illinois safer. Collaboration is our best hope of finding common sense solutions to gun violence.
Positions divide. Interests unite.
With this joint problem-solving spirit in mind, the Governor asked the leaders of the Illinois House of Representatives and Senate to each appoint four members of their caucuses to a Legislative Public Safety Group. The Group would work with our administration to develop legislative proposals to support initiatives we already have already underway:
We have to work together to develop public safety solutions that truly make a difference. Safety is not a partisan issue. It is an obligation, and we owe it to our citizens to come together to ensure their protection. This is a critical step in that direction.