May 23, 2016 – Recent research conducted on behalf of Americans for Responsible Solutions, the national gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and retired NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, found that 85 percent of Illinois voters support the proposed changes to state law in the “Gun Dealer Licensing Act” now before the legislature, including requiring Illinois gun dealers to be licensed by the state and giving state authorities and law enforcement the tools to encourage better business practices among gun dealers.
The survey also found that large majorities of voters in suburban Cook County and the Collar counties, gun owners, and recent Republican voters support the changes called for in the Gun Dealer Licensing Act. Among the survey’s key findings:
- Over 90 percent of voters in suburban Cook County, over 85 percent of voters in the Collar counties, and over 77 percent of downstate voters support requiring firearms dealers to be licensed by the state.
- Nearly 86 percent of self-identified independents and more than 82 percent of voters who supported a Republican in the previous election also said they support giving the state the authority to license gun dealers and ensure better business practices.
- More than 77 percent of Illinois gun owners said they support requiring gun dealers to be licensed by the state.
More than 79% of the state’s voters also said they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who supports licensing gun dealers in the state and measures to improve their business practices.
For a memo with additional details on the results of the new research, please click here.
“Responsible changes to Illinois’ laws that can help keep guns out of the wrong hands simply aren’t controversial. As this new research shows, voters from across the state – including gun owners, Democrats, Republicans and Independents – agree that state authorities and law enforcement need the tools to hold negligent dealers accountable and crack down on the illegal gun trade,” said Robin Lloyd, State Legislative Director, Americans for Responsible Solutions. “As leaders in the legislature debate this commonsense legislation to reduce gun violence, we hope they keep in mind the broad, bipartisan support among their constituents for responsible changes to Illinois’ laws proposed in the Gun Dealer Licensing Act. We urge the leaders in the Illinois legislature to support these changes and act to make communities in Illinois safer.”
The new research comes on the heels of Congresswoman Giffords’ visit to Illinois last month to help launch the new Illinois Gun Violence Prevention Coalition and urge legislators to support the Gun Dealer Licensing Act. The coalition, which includes gun violence prevention groups, community advocates, and faith groups, has helped lead the fight in support of the Gun Dealer Licensing Act, which aims to hold corrupt dealers accountable to slow the flow of illegal gun trafficking in Illinois and help keep guns out of the wrong hands. Read more about the Gun Dealer Licensing Act here.
The Gun Dealer Licensing Act will help slow the the flow of illegal guns through a number of small changes to the state’s laws, including:
- Requiring Criminal Background Checks for Gun Dealer Employees: Gun store employees often have access to huge inventories of guns and it is just common sense to make sure that the dealer and employees are just as responsible as the buyers.
- Ensuring Our Background Check System Can Work Better By Training Employees: The bill would ensure that dealers and their employees know how to conduct background checks, identify and stop straw purchases, and properly store guns to prevent thefts.
- Ensuring Gun Dealers Are Held Accountable: IDFPR and law enforcement would have the ability to inspect licensed gun dealers, so we can make sure all gun dealers are adhering to the same set of minimum business standards.
Negligent gun dealers within Illinois fuel the illegal gun trade. From 2009 to 2013, 40 percent of the guns used in crimes in Chicago came from gun dealers within Illinois. But thanks to loopholes in federal law and a lack of federal resources for enforcement, Illinois lacks the tools and authority it needs to combat illegal or negligent business practices that threaten Illinois families.
Between 2002 – 2014, 14,273 people were killed with guns in Illinois, nearly three times the number of all U.S. combat troops killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined. A person is killed with a gun in Illinois every eight hours. In 2014, 1,179 people were killed by guns in Illinois. [Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence]
Groups represented in the Illinois Gun Violence Prevention Coalition include:
ABJ Community Services
All Saints Episcopal—Chicago
Americans for Responsible Solutions
Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago
Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence
Center for American Progress
Chicago Area Peace Action
Chicago Board of Rabbis
Chicagoland Brady Chapter
Community of Congregations
Community Renewal Society
Countryside Unitarian Church
Emanuel Lutheran Church, Rockford
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Faith Community of St. Sabina Greater Institutional AME Church Gun Responsibility Advocates
Gun Violence Prevention PAC (G-PAC)
Howard Area Community Center
Illinois Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics
Illinois Conference of Churches
Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence (ICHV)
Increase the Peace Englewood Jewish Council on Urban A airs
Joint Action Committee for Political A airs (JAC PAC)
Lake Street Church of Evanston
League of Women Voters of Illinois
National Council of Jewish Women Chicago North Shore
National Gun Victims Action Council
National Youth Advocate Program
Northwest Suburbs Organizing for Action
Organizing Catholics for Justice
Organizing for Action Chicago North Chapter
Our Lady of Perpetual Help
Parents for Peace and Justice
Peace & Justice Committee Episcopal Diocese of Chicago
Peace & Justice Committee of St. Giles, Oak Park
People for a Safer Society Presbyterian Church USA Progressive Community Church Purpose Over Pain
Quinn Chapel AME Church
Saint Joseph Anglican—Spring eld
Strengthening Chicago’s Youth
Seabury Western Theological Seminary
St. Felicitas Catholic Church
St. Francis Xavier Parish
St. Joseph Anglican
The Peace & Justice Committee of St. Edmunds
United Church of Christ United Church of Rogers Park United Methodist Church