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Chicago’s Deadly Weekend: 75 More Reasons Rauner Should Stop Blocking Efforts to Reduce Gun Trafficking in Illinois

August 6, 2018

From Friday afternoon through this morning, at least 75 people were shot in Chicago, 12 of them fatally, according to the Chicago Tribune. The ages of the people shot ranged from 11 to 62, the Tribune reported.

Illinois lawmakers have passed two bills this year to reduce the flow of guns into illegal markets across the state, but Gov. Rauner has opposed both: The governor vetoed the Gun Dealer Licensing Act, and he has said he will veto the Combating Illegal Gun Trafficking Act as well – this despite the efforts lawmakers made to address his concerns.

After another deadly weekend in Chicago, it’s worth asking whether Gov. Rauner has a plan to address gun trafficking in Illinois, since he’s so far blocked lawmakers’ efforts to keep guns from the state’s gun stores from getting into the illegal gun market.

The limitations of the federal laws regulating gun dealers are well-documented: More than half of all dealers were not inspected within a five-year period, according to a report from the Department of Justice, and a retired special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has said the agency “has good intentions but neither the resources nor the congressional support to crack down” on dealers who should face enforcement consequences.

Reporting from the New York Times this June, meanwhile, has also shown ATF supervisors regularly “downgrade” the guidance of agency inspectors:

“Senior officials at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives regularly overrule their own inspectors, allowing gun dealers who fail inspections to keep their licenses even after they were previously warned to follow the rules,” according to the story.

The Combating Illegal Gun Trafficking Act, passed by the Illinois legislature in May with bipartisan support, would help reduce illegal gun trafficking and hold corrupt gun dealers accountable through common-sense measures, including requiring background checks for gun store employees and requiring gun dealers to keep their business premises open for inspection by law enforcement during business hours.

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