Gov. Bruce Rauner's latest announcement of his plans to veto a gun-dealer certification bill is causing some to accuse him of siding with the gun industry. In the wake of several mass shootings, lawmakers sent Rauner the Gun Dealer Licensing Act in March to help crack down on illegal gun sales, but he vetoed the bill over concerns it would burden smaller gun stores. And even before the revised bill reached his desk, Rauner announced Monday he'll veto it, too - because he believes it doesn't enhance public safety.
Kathleen Sances, president and CEO of the Gun Violence Prevention PAC of Illinois, disagrees. She says Chicago police recover 7,000 illegal guns a year - and 4,000 from in-state dealers.
"He should want to be saving our children," says Sances. "And he looks like he's choosing to secure the profits of the gun industry rather than keep our communities safe.
Just before announcing his veto plans for the licensing bill, Rauner signed two other gun-related measures. One allows confiscation of guns from people if a court deems them dangerous to themselves or others; another imposes a 72-hour waiting period for all gun purchases in Illinois.
Sances says while she is pleased that Rauner approved the other two gun-safety bills, she is perplexed over his decision not to want to track illegal gun sales.
"I mean, I think these are easy bills for him to sign," says Sances. "I don't understand, though, why he wouldn't sign a bill that would have helped stopped the shootings in our city. I mean, our children are dying. There are shootings every two hours here - and that's because there's too many illegal guns."
Senator Don Harmon, a Democrat from Oak Park, reworked the gun-dealer licensing measure and got a different bill, House Bill 337, through both chambers. He also praised the governor for signing the other bills, but accused him of playing politics with the licensing bill.