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Illinois Gun Dealer License Certification proposed rules filed, but still months from full implementation

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Monday, August 19, 2019  |  Article  |  By Greg Bishop | The Center Square

Governor (44) , Guns and Gun Control, FOID, Concealed Carry (46) , State Police (84) Wilhour, Blaine--State House, 107

Attorney General has Monday deadline to file response to Illinois State Rifle Association lawsuit

The Illinois State Police have filed proposed rules for the Illinois Gun Dealer License Certification Act, but a mandatory 90-day review period means that gun dealers will still have to wait until all the details are finalized and the law is fully implemented before the cost of compliance is clear.

The Illinois State Rifle Association previously filed suit over the delays. The Illinois Attorney General’s office has a Monday deadline to file its response to that legal challenge.

The state licensing law Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed earlier this year requires federally licensed gun dealers in Illinois also get certification from the state. The proposed certification rules hadn't been filed when the law went into effect last month.

As news broke that more than 1,200, or more than half of Illinois’ federally licensed dealers hadn't applied for a state license, the Illinois State Rifle Association sued because the certification rules hadn't been finalized.

Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly said those rules have now been filed.

“Anybody who has actually submitted their application, they’re still considered to be to be in compliance while the rulemaking process is going on,” Kelly said.

Illinois State Rifle Association Executive Director Richard Pearson said that’s not good enough because it could still take months before the law is fully implemented.

“We are a long way from having these in effect and the law requires that the rules be in place before the law, not the other way around, so they’re still in violation,” Pearson said.

Pearson said the delay in finalizing the rules left gun dealers in the dark. Dealers don’t know how much things like surveillance systems suitable in the proposed rules will cost, among other issues, Pearson said.

Kelly said his agency has other aspects of the law to work on while the comment period continues. After the comment period, the Joint Commission on Administrative Rules will review the proposed rules.

“That process is moving forward,” Kelly said. “The legislature did provide for additional headcount for personnel to deal with gun dealer licensing for the Illinois State Police but that hiring process could take many months.”

State Rep. Blaine Wilhour, R-Beecher City, said with gun dealers in his district closing it has made it difficult for his constituents to find gun dealers.

“[The law’s sponsors] are wanting to make it as difficult as possible to own a firearm in the state of Illinois and when you’ve got to travel a long distance in order to be able to do that it’s prohibitive,” Wilhour said.

Wilhour said the measure hurts the small businesses and the working-class people while larger corporations have the ability to absorb the added costs of the regulations.

The Attorney General’s office is expected to file a response the Illinois State Rifle Association's lawsuit Monday in Springfield. Pearson said he expects a court hearing Sept. 5.