According to Eddie Johnson, Police Superintendent of Chicago, the best way to stop crime is to take a much harsher stance on regulating Illinois gun dealers. His beliefs stem from data from a recent report, which shows that there are a large amount of guns in crimes that have connections back to licensed gun stores in the state.
Therefore, Johnson has been calling on state lawmakers to approve the legislation that would make these strict restrictions a reality.
According to the report, about 2 out of 5 crime guns come to the city from source dealers in Illinois. This makes it the biggest source state for illegal guns in Chicago.
According to Guns.com:
The report also found that nearly one-fourth of guns recovered at crime scenes over a recent four-year period came from just 10 Chicago-area businesses.
Since Chicago does not have gun stores operating within city limits, the revelation that guns used in crimes here have come from outside the city is not new. But Johnson said the new data are evidence the state can do more to regulate gun shops from surrounding areas.
“Details in this report clearly highlight the need for additional legislative action to help stymie the illegal flow of guns in Chicago,” Johnson said.
He pointed to legislation that would require background checks for dealers and their employees, as well as training to prevent what is known as straw purchasing — when a person who is legally able to buy a gun purchases one on behalf of somebody who isn’t a legal buyer — and training on proper security measures. Importantly, Johnson said, the legislation he’s backing would allow for videotaping of gun transactions so that straw purchasers can be identified.
A bill containing those provisions was approved by the Illinois Senate in April, and has been slowly making its way through the House since then. House leaders recently extended a deadline to keep the bill alive until Nov. 10, meaning it’s possible the bill could see action when lawmakers return to Springfield for the second half of their veto session, which begins Nov. 7.
In the nine months the bill has been under consideration at the Capitol, it has been discussed at several committee hearings, through which thousands of people have filed “witness slips” registering their stance on the bill. In a sign of fierce opposition to the bill, 14,428 people signed witness slips saying they objected to the legislation while 5,842 people entered witness slips in support.
The National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action has tracked the bill’s progress, issuing multiple warnings against it.
According to the NRA, this bill has an assortment of pitfalls. For example, it would create many difficult mandatory regulations, charge enormous fees, and introduce extravagant amounts of red tape. It will also force multiple gun dealers to close, and will prohibit possible owners from opening more.
However, Johnson believes that the legislation is only one step in a much bigger endeavor to piece together an all-inclusive solution to gun crime.
He also noted that California and New York (as well as others) maintain much stronger regulations on guns, and they don’t have nearly as much gun crime as Chicago seems to.