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June , 2018
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Year-long grassroots and digital advocacy campaign led by GPAC and coalition group shepherds passage of Gun Dealers Licensing Act 

CHICAGO, IL – The Illinois House passed the Gun Dealers Licensing Act (SB1657), an historic public safety measure that would protect children and families from illegal guns flowing into our communities, making Illinois the first state legislature in the nation to adopt major anti-gun violence legislation following the tragic mass shooting at a south Florida high school earlier this month.

The bill now awaits Governor Rauner’s signature to become law.

SB 1657 prevents illegal guns from getting into the hands of criminals by giving state authorities and law enforcement officers the tools to hold accountable corrupt or negligent gun dealers, a major source fueling the illegal gun trade in Chicago and across the region.

The bill’s passage caps a sweeping effort led by the nonpartisan, Illinois-based Gun Violence Prevention Political Action Committee (GPAC) and more than 120 partner organizations with the Gun Violence Prevention Coalition dedicated to eliminating gun violence in communities across the state. They launched an aggressive digital engagement and grassroots campaign last year to support passage of this bill. Their social media activations reached more than two million Illinoisans statewide and 650,000 video views during this time. 

“Thousands of lives will literally be saved with the passage of this bill and for that our coalition of 120-strong advocate organizations along with state Senators and Representatives on both sides of the aisle who voted for it can hold their heads very high,” said Kathleen Sances, President and CEO of GPAC. “The passage of this bill represents a milestone victory against the gun lobby and their allies, and shows the rest of the country that it’s possible to take them on and beat them because we did it right here in Illinois.”

The Gun Dealers Licensing Act eliminates gaps that have for too long allowed guns to fall into the wrong hands. From 2013 to 2016, 40 percent of firearms used in crimes in Chicago came from lax gun dealers within Illinois, according to the 2017 Gun Trace Report. Thanks to loopholes in federal law and a lack of federal resources for enforcement, Illinois hasn’t had the necessary tools or authority to combat the illegal gun trafficking that is threatening families and communities.

SB 1657, which passed the Illinois Senate with bi-partisan support last fall, requires criminal background checks for all gun shop employees. It would require training to help gun shop employees identify a buyer purchasing a gun for someone else, require basic store security measures to help prevent theft, and strengthen law enforcement’s ability to catch those responsible for illegal gun trafficking.

Despite momentum building in Illinois and nationally to address the scourge of gun violence, firearm injuries continue to be the number one cause of death for children in Illinois. Last year, more than 600 people in Illinois died as a result of a gunshot and thousands more were injured with difficult journeys to recovery. 

“Children in Illinois – and across this country – have a right to grow up in communities free from gun violence,” Sances said. “But that cannot be achieved unless we’re willing to work courageously to keep illegal firearms off our streets and away from those who mean to do harm. Now, we have taken an incredibly important step in that direction.”

About G-PAC:

The Gun Violence Prevention Action Committee (G-PAC) is a nonpartisan political action committee dedicated to electing public officials with the courage to stand up to the gun lobby. In 2013, gun violence victims and survivors created G-PAC to counter the political influence and clout of the gun industry. By providing strategic campaign support to committed legislators, G-PAC aims to protect communities from the gun violence epidemic, which takes an average of 1000 lives each year in Illinois.

With support from a growing bipartisan coalition of legislators committed to ending this epidemic, G-PAC fights for the passage of sensible gun safety measures supported by gun owners and non-gun owners alike. These measures include lifesaving legislation that keeps guns out of the hands of criminals, gang members, domestic abusers and the dangerously mentally ill. For more information, visit: https://gpacillinois.com/about-gpac/ and follow G-PAC on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gpacillinois.

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