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Illinois handgun dealer licensing bill is back from the dead . . . again. (HB180)

Thousands of gun owners approach the state Capitol in Springfield, IL at IGOLD 2009.
Experts estimate that 3,000 to 5,000 Illinois gun owners
marched on the IL Capitol building on last year's IGOLD 2009.
IGOLD 2010 will be held on Wednesday, March 10.

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"How long do you think I have to liquidate my hand gun inventory? I will keep selling long guns but I'm not going to jump through hoops for hand guns. There is no profit in them to make it worth while."
--A downstate gun dealer questioning an NRA representative this week.

Now, no one get too alarmed, but it does seem that zombie gun control bills are beginning to rise from the dead in Springfield. The first lumbering corpse to claw its way out of the cold, mossy ground of the legislative cemetery known as the Rules Committee is House Bill 180, the "Handgun Dealer Licensing Act. This is the same bill gun owners have been stopping for years, over and over and over--but it always comes back.  Normally, that process takes time, as a bill that went down to defeat in a floor vote the year before must be re-introduced and go through the committee process again before reaching the floor--which is why the Senate version of this same bill, SB3092, is some time away from a floor vote; it had to be introduced anew just this week.  However, there was no floor vote on HB180 during the 2009 session, so it went back to the Rules Committee . . . which sent it back out to the floor late last week. That means that a floor vote could be taken at any time. But what would HB180 do that would lead gun owners to call their legislators in opposition?

  • Does not define the term "concealable firearms," though it seems to be used to denote handguns.
  • Of particular interest to Chicago gun owners, the bill makes it illegal for a licensed dealer to sell any "concealable firearm" to anyone with a Chicago or Oak Park address, putting an end to the common practice of purchasing firearms to be stored and used outside the city.
  • Requires that anyone who sells or repairs "concealable firearms" as a business get a $300 license from the Illinois State Police, ignoring the fact that such dealers already need Federal Firearms Licenses.
  • Flatly prohibits licensed dealers in "concealable firearms" from doing business in their own homes or any location not "zoned to allow retail activity." What that would mean in rural areas with no zoning codes is not clear.
  • Requires all licensed dealers in "concealable firearms" to register every handgun sale they carry out, sending the Illinois State Police a record of every buyer's personal information along with a record of the firearm sold and even its price.

Even veteran lobbyists were surprised that the bill would be called to the floor so soon in the legislative session, with some wondering openly whether the bill's sponsor, Representative Deborah Graham (D-Oak Park) has taken time to build support for it.  Some have suggested that some legislators are in a hurry to create any kind of victory they can as the McDonald v. Chicago Supreme Court decision looms.  Others believe that at least some parts of HB180 might survive court challenges based on a hypothetical McDonald decision in favor of incorporating the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. In recent months, there has been a tendency in some quarters to assume that a victory for the plaintiffs in McDonald v. Chicago will mean the end of all attempts at gun control.  Unfortunately, that doesn't seem likely. In the meantime, a vote on HB180 is threatened any day now; the Illinois State Rifle Association warned its members recently that a vote had been scheduled for early this week; that vote was rescheduled and could well be postponed several more times before the legislative session ends, but clearly a quick response by gun owners will be important. It would be embarrassing to have gun rights killed by a shambling, mindless zombie hulk of a bill simply because it never stops coming back.

For more info: You can find the full text of the bill, as well as updates on its status, recent votes, and printable versions, at  If you'd like to contact your Representative (remember, only the House will be voting on this bill initially) but aren't sure how to reach her, the ISRA maintains a list of all Illinois legislators with contact information for both their Springfield and home offices.  If you haven't contacted your legislator before and aren't sure who your representative is, you can easily find out by visiting the Illinois State Board of Elections and typing in your home address. To talk to other Illinois gun owners about HB180/SB3092, you can always check out the discussion at Illinois Carry.


  • RSBL 5 years ago

    Maybe if you make it illegal to even look at the 2nd amendment...wait, it already IS illegal...who keeps voting for these idiots? All those in favor of gun control should be made to live in New Jersey, then we see what they have to say after, well, forget that, just dump them off over there and they can be defensless together. OR, start hanging the conspirators from lamp posts, then they ill get the message..."shall not be infringed". Enough being nice or politically correct, they arent being nice, start the tar and feathers, or the gallows for treason.

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