Illinois gun dealers will get details about new state rules that were supposed to take effect a week ago, but were only just filed by the Illinois State Police.
When the Illinois Firearms Dealer License Certification Act was signed last year some aspects were to take effect Jan. 2, but the rules weren’t finalized. A state police official said those rules were filed this week, but have not yet been published by the Secretary of State’s Office.
“They anticipate them being published next week,” ISP Public Information Officer Sgt. Christopher Watson said.
Federal Firearms Licensees of Illinois Executive Director Todd Vandermyde said that was a problem.
“Not every small business owner in the state looks to the Illinois Register and checks the Secretary of State’s publications every week whether or not they’re going to be impacted by something,” Vandermyde said.
The rules he has seen mandate things such as electronic record-keeping and video surveillance.
“There were well over 5,000 comments turned in opposing the rules that were filed and now a week after the rules were supposed to take effect they turn around and file some emergency rules,” Vandermyde said.
The law states that by or on Jan. 2, 2020, “each certified licensee maintaining an inventory of firearms for sale or transfer must be connected to an alarm monitoring system or service that will notify local law enforcement of an unauthorized intrusion into the premises of the licensee where the firearm inventory is maintained.”
Another aspect of the law states that by or on Jan. 2, 2021, “each certified licensee operating a retail location in the State must maintain a video security system and shall maintain video surveillance of critical areas of the business premises, including, but not limited to, all places where firearms are stored, sold, transferred, or carried, and each entrance and exit.”
Vandermyde said there’s been no clarity on what kinds of electronic record keeping or video surveillance systems will be accepted as compliant with the law, something the rules should spell out.
The lack of clear rules and missed implementation deadlines led to half of the state’s gun dealers, especially in the more rural areas, not seeking state approval to continue operations.
Last July, one aspect of the law required federally licensed firearms dealers to apply for the state license on top of the federal license. But because there weren’t clear rules, more than 1,200 gun owners didn’t apply for a state license. That was more than half of the federally licensed gun dealers in Illinois.
Vandermyde said another issue he was concerned with was that the delay in Firearm Owner Identification (FOID) card renewals could put gun stores and gun owners in a tough spot.
The Illinois State Police officials said the agency is working to process more than 60,000 applications in a backlog of FOID renewals. They say applicants’ gun ownership rights aren’t suspended during application processing, even if the card expires. Applicants must apply for a renewal before the card expires.
Vandermyde said that puts gun dealers in a difficult position.
“I don’t know any FFL who wants to list an ID such as a FOID card that has an expired date on it,” he said.
Gun owners who have applied for a FOID renewal but have a card with an expired date on it may find they cannot buy guns or ammo, he said. And while FFL dealers will accept an Illinois Concealed Carry license for gun and ammo transactions, not everyone with a FOID card also has a CCL.
Add in gun stores closing because of the lack of clarity in the new gun dealer law with rules that haven’t been published yet and Vandermyde said it leads to diminished gun rights.
“You have an administration, you have a regulatory scheme that looks to do everything it can to put a hurdle, roadblock, red tape in front of people exercising their right lawfully,” he said.