While Chicago is known for its draconian gun-control regime, the state of Illinois had yet to impose a background check requirement on private gun sales—until now.
A new gun control bill, which passed the state legislature roughly along party lines, would require all private gun transfers to go through a federally licensed dealer and require the Illinois state police to conduct “enforcement operations” on residents who are no longer permitted to own a firearm.
“In an America, where gun violence has become a scourge to so many neighborhoods, Illinois is taking a commonsense approach to reform and we’re doing so with votes from both sides of the aisle,” Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker said.
“This bill is the most comprehensive reform to our state firearms laws in over a generation,” he added.
The legislation imposes some of the country’s strictest requirements on private gun sales. The state already required private parties who wished to sell a gun to verify the buyer’s Firearm Owner Identification (FOID) card and keep a record of the sale for 10 years.
The new bill, along with requiring that private sales go through the NICS background check system, requires new gun owners who purchase a firearm from a private party to report the sale to a federally licensed firearms dealer within 10 days of purchase. The dealer must maintain a record of the sale, and the buyer must provide the name of the dealer if asked by a law enforcement officer.
In this same vein, the bill instructs the Illinois State Police to develop an “Internet-based” database in which they will list the serial numbers of firearms that have been reported stolen. The database will be open to the public and is supposed to ensure that individuals do not sell stolen firearms.
The legislation does not say whether criminal penalties will be leveled against those who neglect to use the system before purchasing a firearm.
Those who fail to keep records of their private gun sales and report those sales to a federally licensed dealer will face a Class A misdemeanor on the first offense or a Class 4 felony for subsequent offenses.
The bill also requires the state’s Violent Crime Intelligence Task Force to run “enforcement operations” against anyone whose FOID card has been revoked or suspended and who has not surrendered their firearms.
The bill instructs the Task Force to prioritize individuals who present “a clear and present danger to themselves or to others.”
The state’s process for vetting applicants and issuing FOID cards has come under fire in recent years, especially during the last six months. The new legislation aims to expedite that process by allowing for electronic FOID cards and electronic fingerprints. The bill also removes the requirement to renew a FOID card if the cardholder also has a valid concealed carry license that has not expired.
The universal background check requirement goes into effect Jan. 1, 2024. All other provisions take effect Jan. 1, 2022.