Senate Democrats on Wednesday opted to skip an attempt to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of a measure that would have required gun dealers to be licensed by the state — giving the governor and fellow Republicans who opposed it a glimpse of victory.
As thousands took to the streets in Springfield to support their Second Amendment rights to own guns, bill sponsor state Sen. Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, said he made the “difficult decision” not to ask the Senate to override the veto. Wednesday marked the last day to do so. Rauner vetoed the measure on March 13, just days ahead of the primary election.
* Harmon press release…
Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) issued the following statement today on his decision not to call a vote to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of the Gun Dealer Licensing Act:
“Today, I made the difficult decision not to ask the Senate to override Gov. Rauner’s veto of the gun dealer licensing bill.
“While I am confident that I had the votes in the Senate to override the veto, I could not assure my colleagues that the House would vote against the governor, particularly given his vociferous and unreasonable opposition to this measure.
“In the past few days, I have had productive conversations with suburban Republican members, in particular Senator Chris Nybo, that make me believe we can create a new path to regulating gun dealers in Illinois.
“I have also recently received overtures and encouragement from unexpected and unconventional allies who can better inform our decision making as we move forward towards a successful resolution.
“While making this decision, I frequently reminded myself that ‘victory’ is not overriding Gov. Rauner’s veto or winning any other political battle in the Capitol. Victory means protecting the people we represent from the senseless violence fueled by the ready availability of guns in our communities.
“Today, I am reintroducing the substance of the Gun Dealer Licensing Act as an amendment to an existing bill, Senate Bill 337, and I will begin work immediately on gathering support for the measure.
“Licensing gun dealers at the state level is a sensible step to reduce gun violence, and I will not give up. I am sure we will enact this measure – under this administration or the next.”
Subscribers know more about this Nybo angle.
* Rauner statement…
“All any father or mother really wants to know is that their family is safe. We need to focus on illegal gun trafficking, school safety, how to best keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill. These are bipartisan issues that we are working on collaboratively in our Public Safety Working Group to drive real solutions. We will keep working to keep our families safe,” Gov. Rauner said in a statement Wednesday evening.
State Democrats’ hopes of overriding a veto of firearms-dealer licensing fizzled Wednesday, swamped by the inaction of a Senate and House afraid to take the vote without cover from the other. […]
But the measure’s sponsor, Sen. Don Harmon, an Oak Park Democrat, said several of his colleagues’ commitments to vote for override were contingent on knowing that the House would follow suit. […]
“I’m pretty sure I have 68 votes without the Senate going through, but the three more members that I need,” said [Rep. Kathleen] Willis, an Addison Democrat [and House sponsor of the bill].
Now the thinking is that Rauner may be less inclined to reject the proposal a second time as he seeks to appeal to a wider audience ahead of a November matchup against Democratic challenger J.B. Pritzker.
“When he’s looking at a general election, maybe it’s not in his best interest (to veto the bill),” said Rep. Kathleen Willis, a Democrat from Addison who is carrying the bill in the House. “So maybe we do run another bill that takes in a little more compromise on some stuff and gather a few more members. It may not be a veto-proof majority, but maybe enough that it makes the governor say, ‘In this climate, I don’t want to veto it.’” […]
Among the changes being considered is no longer exempting big box stores from state oversight, which small business owners said would put them at a disadvantage as they were less able to absorb the costs related to complying with the proposed rules.
* In related news…
Gun owners gathered in the Illinois capitol Wednesday for the annual Illinois Gun Owners Lobby Day as a plan to override a controversial gun control measure failed. […]
Libertarian candidate for governor Kash Jackson also spoke. He said he learned something in his 20-years of service in the military.
“The greatest threat to our constitution and to our freedoms does not lie on a foreign shore,” Jackson said. “The greatest threat to our freedoms lies in the pen of a legislator in that building right back there.”
Jackson also talked about gun ownership as “our natural, God-given right to protect ourselves, to protect our families against a tyrannical government.” And after saying that “greatest threat” stuff, he said “By, God, whatever it takes, I’m going to fight to restore freedom in this state. If it’s the last thing that I do, I will fight to restore freedom.”
* Also from the rally…
Rep. Margo McDermod, R-Mokena, called Democrats “hysterical no-nothings” while Rep. Reggie Phillips, R-Charleston, told rally participants that “when you’re looking at these (legislators) measure ‘em twice, what side they’re on. Make sure you hold their feet to a fire because they speak with a forked tongue.”
* Pro-gun advocates crowd downtown Springfield for annual rally
* Gun Dealer Licensing bill will be reintroduced, override doesn’t have enough support
* Illinois Lawmakers Fail to Override Veto of Licensing Gun Shops