Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner on Monday laid out his priorities for gun legislation, but he didn't say whether he'd sign a bill on his desk that would require Illinois gun retailers to get state licenses.
Rauner said he wants to work with the Democrat-controlled General Assembly on four goals relating to firearms: banning bump stocks, improving school safety, keeping guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill, and giving better support to police officers.
Asked repeatedly if he would approve the licensing bill, which is backed by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, the governor said that he was seeking a "comprehensive solution."
"What I will do and continue to do for many days is to work with our members of the General Assembly on a bipartisan basis to come up with real solutions together on a bipartisan basis," Rauner said.
The renewed focus on gun-related legislation comes in the wake of the school shooting that killed 17 in Parkland, Fla., and the deadly shooting of Chicago police Cmdr. Paul Bauer near the Thompson Center in the Loop.
The gun dealer licensing bill passed the General Assembly about two weeks ago, but Rauner has 60 days to act on it. That means he can wait to act until after the March 20 primary, in which he faces a challenge from conservative state Rep. Jeanne Ives, who contends that Rauner has abandoned Republican principles.
The bill would require anyone who sells, leases or transfers firearms to be licensed by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, at a cost limited to $1,000 every five years. Dealers and their employees would have to take training to make sure they know how to properly conduct background checks, store guns, stop thefts and prevent straw purchases, in which someone buys a gun on behalf of another person barred from doing so.
SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois House controlled by Democrats pushed through some gun control mea…
On Friday in downstate Moline, Rauner noted that the federal government already licenses gun dealers, saying, "We've got to be careful about putting too much redundant regulation that won't really change or improve anything, but it may actually hurt small businesses in the state of Illinois."
He later added that "the most effective way to deal with gun issues is really best at the federal level."
Emanuel on Monday again hammered Rauner on the licensing bill, as the mayor has done often since the House passed it. This time, he joined Johnson, gun control advocates and the families of gun violence victims at a news conference at police headquarters to try to pressure the governor to act.
Emanuel nodded to the political pressure facing Rauner, but said the governor has a greater responsibility to look past that and protect Illinois residents.
"When is the right time? Only one person can answer that," Emanuel said.
CHICAGO — When Illinois first lady Diana Rauner first glimpsed the governor's mansion, she s…
"So I would just say the governor may be thinking of his primary election, but we are thinking of the primary responsibility he has for helping us keep our streets safe, whether that's Downstate, suburban or in the city of Chicago," he said.