Without the bill even being on his desk, Gov. Bruce Rauner said Monday he will again veto a new version of another bill he previously vetoed that would further regulate gun stores in Illinois.
In March, Rauner vetoed the Gun Dealer Licensing Act, which state lawmakers sent him in the wake of several mass shootings. There weren’t enough votes for a veto override, so a vote wasn’t attempted. The sponsor of the bill, state Sen. Don Harmon, reworked the measure and got a different bill, House Bill 337, through both chambers.
Rauner said Monday he won't sign it.
“That bill will not increase public safety,” Rauner said. “It will increase red tape and restrictions and unnecessary burden on our small businesses in Illinois and I will veto that bill if and when it is sent to my desk.”
Harmon, D-Oak Park, praised Rauner's decision to sign two other gun bills, but said he was disappointed the governor planned to veto the licensing bill.
“We know that illegal guns are flooding our neighborhoods and contributing to the daily violence so many in our state face, particularly minority communities. But the governor only seems concerned with appearing to do something by responding to attention-grabbing headlines like suburban school shootings," Harmon said in a statement. "He chose to play politics, rather than act responsibly for commonsense solutions that could save lives in every community."
Harmon had said his updated bill addressed concerns from critics that the initial measure was overly burdensome. Some critics said it singled out small gun stores while exempting big-box retailers from needing to get a state license. He and other supporters said the measure was designed to curb illegal weapons sales by better tracking gun sales and possible straw buyers.
“Illinois needs stronger, smarter state gun laws to keep guns off our streets and out of the wrong hands,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement Monday afternoon. “It is the height of hypocrisy when the same governor who signed a bill to regulate catfish sales will not stand up and take common sense steps to regulate gun sales.”
Regardless, HB 337 passed before the end of session in May, but didn’t get a veto proof supermajority.
Rauner also doubled down on measures he said will make Illinois safer, even though legislators haven’t passed the bills he proposed.
After signing gun measures Monday to allow gun confiscation from people who a court deems to be exhibiting behavior that’s dangerous to themselves and others, and a separate bill imposing a 72-hour waiting period for all gun purchases in Illinois, Rauner said lawmakers have yet to act on other important bills he supports.
He wants a ban on bump stocks and a measure to require judges and prosecutors to explain plea deals with violent offenders.
“We don’t want violent offenders back on the streets early,” Rauner said. “We should have truth in sentencing”
Rauner also said he wants a measure to free up funds for more school support specialists.
“To have a channel of funding for schools that would like to hire a resource officer and a mental health professional, that should pass,” Rauner said. “It was not voted on, it was not passed.”
The plan Rauner laid out would allow state sales tax dollars to be diverted to pay for school resource officers and mental health professional positions.
Lawmakers won't be back in Springfield until after the November election.