One of the frequent statistics cited by gun-control opponents is that lawful gun owners are generally not the perpetrators of gun-related crimes. But what happens when a lawfully licensed gun owner purchases a gun, and that gun is stolen by someone who otherwise wouldn’t be able to purchase the firearm legally? New legislation signed into law by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn strives to address that tricky issue, and expands Illinois laws on gun crimes and weapons charges.
The gun control legislation is historic for Illinois, CBS Chicago reports. The law became effective earlier in August, after a particularly gruesome weekend, over which at least four people were shot and killed in Chicago, and over two dozen other people were injured as a result of gun violence. The first goal of the law, according to Foxnews.com, is to reduce gun crimes by making stolen guns easier for law enforcement to recover. To that end, Illinois law now requires gun owners to report a lost or stolen weapon to police within 72 hours from the time it went missing or was stolen. Wgntv.com reports that if gun owners fail to comply with the reporting requirements, they may be subject to fines or penalties under the new law.
A second part of the new legislation aims to reduce gun violence by closing a loophole that has been part of firearm buying and selling in many states for a long time. The new Illinois law will require private individual firearms sellers to report to the Illinois State Police before selling a firearm, or before otherwise transferring ownership of a firearm to another person (such as a gift). The police will then check to make sure that the buyer or transferee is legally eligible to purchase or own the firearm. Under the old law, firearms dealers, but not private individual sellers, had to conduct background checks before selling a firearm to a prospective buyer.
The new law closes that loophole by requiring private sellers to also conduct background checks through the state police. Illinois will be the eighth state in the nation to require private individuals to conduct background checks in firearm sales.
Governor Quinn is reported to have commented that he believes that the new laws will make it easier to recover weapons that have been stolen, and to keep them out of the hands of those who are not legally permitted to own them, by only allowing responsible individuals to purchase firearms. He also believes that the laws will aid law enforcement. The bill was signed in a ceremony at a park near the location where an off-duty Chicago officer was shot and killed with an illegally obtained firearm three years ago.
It is important for Illinois gun owners and prospective gun owners to be aware of the new gun laws. Failure to report, or to conduct the background checks are offenses that are punishable under the law. If you have been charged with a gun-related offense, you should immediately speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney. A criminal defense attorney can explain the consequences of the charges against you, and can defend your case. Contact Goldman & Associates today for a confidential consultation.