Earlier today, the Illinois State Senate passed bill SB-1657 by a one-vote margin. While its prospects are still unsure in the House, if signed by Governor Bruce Rauner, the new law will mandate state licensing for all Illinois gun dealers. It will also restrict all others in Illinois to nine firearm transfers per year.
The lobbyist for the Illinois Firearms Manufacturers Association (IFMA), Jay Keller, traded that group’s opposition to the bill in exchange for a carve-out, removing Prairie State firearms manufacturers from the licensing requirements.
Two companies provide the bulk of the funding for IFMA: Springfield Armory and Rock River Arms.
At a March Senate hearing, however, Keller stated that IFMA would drop its opposition to SB-1657 and go neutral if legislators gave the state’s gun makers a pass. State Senator Don Harmon delivered on his end of the deal with an amendment exempting big box stores and manufacturers from this scheme.
With that amendment, IFMA dropped its opposition to the bill, going neutral on the witness slip. That serves as a very public position on a bill in Illinois politics.