Gun licensing bill advances despite Reis' opposition
Rep. David Reis (R-Willow Hill) fought hard against proposed gun licensing legislation but to no avail.
SB1657, presented by Rep. Kathleen Willis (D-Addison) on behalf of Rep. Deb. Conroy (D-Villa Park), mandates gun dealers pay a $1,000 license fee every five years, videotape firearm owner identification (FOID) card purchases and perform background checks for employees who sell firearms, and it was a serious point of contention to Reis during House floor debate Feb. 28.
After asking Willis to yield, Reis began referencing the legislation trailer that revises SB1657.
“Even you admit there are some flaws in this bill that need fixing, so why don’t we follow the normal practice of passing bills in this building and amend this bill and get this bill right, without running the risk of a trailer bill that might or might not pass?” Reis asked.
“The trailer bill just passed in the Senate and we are in the process of doing posting requirements on it so the intent of not wasting anybody’s time and have just dead air, we decided to move this,” Willis said.
“Representative, we have heard that before,” Reis said. “Wink, wink, nod, nod, we pass something but it never becomes law because most chambers never pass identical language, so why don’t we do it right, and get the bill right,” Reis said.
“The language has passed; it has passed from the Senate,” Willis said, noting it was just a matter of posting it up.
“This is the final step on the underriding bill, this is a Senate bill and when it passes here it will be going to the governor’s desk,” Willis said. “The trailer bill will be coming for a vote here this afternoon before I leave the floor.”
“What if it isn’t?” Reis asked.
“It will; I am giving you that commitment. It will not leave the floor today until we vote on the trailer bill,” Willis assured Reis.
Reis moved on, noting that even the trailer bill that Willis said is identical is “not perfect,” and both have opposition from the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation.
“These trailer bills set licensing fees in a virtually unprecedented way ensuring that those fees could never cover the cost of the regulatory system and only slightly modify intrusive language on videotaping that will inevitably cover inappropriate places,” Reis said.
“So representative can you see why it might be reasonable for the members of this chamber who are considering this bill, to feel less than assured that your trailer bill is ever going to get called and really address the needs of fixing all of this,” Reis added.
Willis said that “she has never lied” on the House floor and she is telling him for the final time what is going to happen.
However, Reis said it is not about her being honest, rather it is up to the “powers to be,” on whether or not the trailer bill will pass and correctly edit the legislation.
“The powers to be assured me the bill will be heard this afternoon,” Willis said. “That is the best I can do for you.”
She continued, saying Reis could not have the best of both worlds as far as the fees were concerned in that charging $1,000 for five years is being condemned by part of his caucus as being too high for mom-and-pop businesses but not enough to cover the regulatory process of licensing.
“We listened to that and is why we have put in the trailer bill to cap the costs,” Willis said.
The debate continued with Reis again bringing up the bill’s opposition that the regulatory process cannot be followed through successfully by the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation.
“With all due respect to the department, anytime we want to increase licenses they say they can’t do it,” Willis said, to which Reis asked if she understood that is a legitimate concern.
“That is their job,” Willis countered.
Though Reis continued to stress his strong opposition, the trailer bill passed and SB1657 passed 64-52.