BELLEVILLE, Ill. – Last week, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a law requiring state licensing of Illinois gun dealers.
Steve King, the owner of Metro Shooting Supply in Belleville and Bridgeton, said the bill passed by Governor Pritzker was meant to put more hardship on already licensed gun dealers.
“Everything the state of Illinois has implemented we have already done by the federal government,” he said.
Calling the bill the Combatting Illegal Gun Trafficking Act, the governor said the legislation was aimed at reducing the state gun violence. However, King argues people have not become safer and this will hurt dealers with more paperwork and a new $1,500 license fee.
“I have a license from the federal government. It says I'm not a criminal. I passed a background check. I’m on a list of authorized people to do business with the public,” King said.
King said he agrees there is a major gun violence problem in the state. However, he said it’s not the fault of gun dealers. Rather, the people who steal guns from legal owners and those buying them illegally. He said prosecutors need to start enforcing the laws at all levels.
“I thought the federal government did a good job regulating the licensing. I don’t think state police should have to do that job,” he said. “They have so many things they have to do anyway.”
Illinois joins a handful of states adding gun dealer licensing to their oversight. King believes universal background checks are working but law enforcement needs to prosecute the large number of felons that attempted to buy guns but were denied.
King said they’re the ones who are stealing guns and using them or selling them on the street.
The new law won’t take effect until 2020. King said he thinks there could be more serious gun laws coming down in 2019.