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Senators outraged at governor's veto of gun safety measure

gun dealerIn spite of repeated pleas from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle and in both chambers to support commonsense measures to curb gun violence and help sweep unregistered firearms off the streets, the governor vetoed Senate Bill 1657, the Gun Dealer Licensing Act.

According to a 2014 report from the University of Chicago Crime Lab, almost 20 percent of all guns recovered from crimes scenes in Chicago between 2009 and 2013 came from three of the state’s 2,400 dealers. Although Democratic and Republican lawmakers supported the gun dealer licensing legislation, along with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, CPD Superintendent Eddie Johnson and many gun safety advocates and victims' families, the governor vetoed the bill today.

State Senator Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood), who also chairs the joint Illinois Legislative Black Caucus, delivered a clear message: “Leave it to Governor Rauner to put politics before public safety. If his goal was to curb gun violence in our state he would have appointed a commission his first day in office, not over three years into his term. There is too much at stake to continue stalling for personal advancement.”

Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield), cosponsor of the measure, said, “Cracking down on corrupt gun dealers is a key component in reducing gun violence across our state. I am extremely disappointed that the governor chose to veto this common-sense safety measure.”

Senator Bill Cunningham, a Democrat representing Chicago and the southwest suburbs, issued this statement: “This veto directly contradicts Gov. Rauner’s repeated commitment to pursuing bipartisan solutions to reduce gun violence,” Cunningham said. “Given that the Gun Dealer Licensing Act is a sensible measure worked on by both sides of the aisle and supported by 85 percent of Illinoisans, this decision is unacceptable and deeply disappointing. The licensing of gun dealers is an action that is well past due.”

Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago 3rd) issued the following statement: “Gun violence continues to plague many communities across our state. Gun violence is what took my two nephews away from me and my family during the summer of 2015. Gun violence is what left 17 families hopeless after their loved ones were murdered ruthlessly in the Florida mass shooting. Gun violence is what threatens the streets of Chicago day in and day out. How many more people have to die before we enact critical gun reform legislation? We have a public safety issue and this is a common sense solution. It is highly irresponsible of this administration to ignore the realities that plague our communities.”

Senator Omar Aquino (D-Chicago) released the following statement: “The governor says that he wants a comprehensive solution to address gun violence, yet he vetoed a key measure that would help state officials hold gun dealers accountable. Yet again, the governor’s words and actions don’t match. It is crucial that we take a reasonable and significant step toward ending gun violence in Illinois by overriding this veto.”

Senator Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights) said, "It is common sense that gun dealers should be held to the same standard as a majority of other Illinois industries and professions. My heart breaks that given the epidemic of gun violence across too many Illinois communities the governor has chosen politics over people’s lives.”

“By vetoing this legislation Gov. Rauner would be bowing to the gun lobby,” Senator Elgie R. Sims, Jr. (D-Chicago) said. “Vetoing this legislation disregards commonsense solutions to keep guns out of the hands of those who should not have them, which is exactly what most Illinoisans, including many gun owners support. This veto will make our communities less safe. Enough is enough.”

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