Illinois Democrats’ latest solution to Chicago gun violence comes in the form of more fees and regulations for the already limited number of licensed gun dealers in the city.
In other words, Democrats are responding to gang violence and street crime by targeting individuals who have taken the time to go through the legal channels necessary to acquire a Federal Firearms License (FFL); individuals who, because of the FFL, must perform a background check on every gun purchaser who attempts to buy a firearm from them.
According to the NRA-ILA, the legislation–SB 1657–“would create onerous mandatory regulations, fees potentially in the thousands of dollars and excessive amounts of red tape that would almost assuredly force the closure of many firearm dealers, and prevent prospective owners from opening new ones.” These would be fees and regulations that FFLs would face on top of the fees and regulations they already face via federal oversight. As the NRA-ILA explains, “The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) already licenses and closely monitors all federally licensed firearm dealers (FFLs) and strictly enforces any violation of federal law.”
The end result of the additional fees and regulations would almost certainly be closure of some of the few outlets where law-abiding Chicaogoans can legally buy firearms for self-defense.
On April 24, 2017, Breitbart News reported that Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) responded to Chicago’s continuing gun violence by calling for more regulations on FFL holders. He framed his gun control push as a fight against straw purchasers but overlooked the fact that Illinois already has some of the most stringent anti-straw purchasing laws in the land; and these include laws that already impact FFL holders.
Illinois law states:
A person commits the offense of unlawful sale or delivery of firearms when he or she knowingly… Sells or transfers ownership of a firearm to a… person who does not display to the seller or transferor of the firearm either: (1) a currently valid Firearm Owner’s Identification Card that has previously been issued in the transferee’s name by the Department of State Police under the provisions of the Firearm Owners Identification Card Act; or (2) a currently valid license to carry a concealed firearm that has previously been issued in the transferee’s name by the Department of State Police under the Firearm Concealed Carry Act.
Nearly 4,400 people where shot in Chicago in 2016, nearly 800 were killed. A University of Chicago Crime Lab study has demonstrated that the people using guns illegally in Chicago are also acquiring said the weapons illegally, so going after FFL holders is not going to prevent such criminals from being armed. But it will make it harder for law-abiding citizens to defend themselves.
AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and host of Bullets with AWR Hawkins, a Breitbart News podcast. He is also the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.