Pritzker signs gun control bill, local democrat votes against it

CHICAGO, Illinois- The Illinois legislative session is just a few days old, but there is already a major change in the state.

Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a new gun control bill into law Thursday, January 17. The bill targets illegal gun trafficking and requires firearm dealers to be licensed by Illinois State Police instead of the state agency that regulates professions and occupations.

Former Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed a similar measure last year and promised a second veto if he had the chance. Instead, Democrats waited until Pritzker took over to send it to the governor's office. The bill was approved in the aftermath of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida and the killing of Chicago Police commander Paul Bauer. 

"Too many Illinoisans know the pain of that violence," Pritzker said Thursday. "Today is a long overdue step to do more to prevent gun violence, to make sure that guns do not fall into the wrong hands."

Supporters of the bill say federal regulators are stretched too thin, but opponents like State House Rep. and Democrat Mike Halpin, say the new licensing is expensive and could force small dealers out of business.  We had Breakfast With...Halpin Thursday on Good Morning Quad Cities. He says there was a better way lawmakers and the Governor could have agreed on the bill, and he didn't like the way it was written.

"There was certainly concern for me when mom and pop shops were included. Locally owned dealers were included and big businesses like Cabela's and Walmart were not."

Tuesday, January 22, Halpin told News 8 big businesses actually were included in that bill, though. He said changes were made after he had read the bill.

Despite his vote against the Governor, he says Pritzker is willing to have more conversations with lawmakers than former Governor Bruce Rauner, calling the mood different in Springfield than it was before.

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