State Sen. Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, has filed some version of gun dealer licensing legislation every year since he began serving in the General Assembly in 2003.
In all those years, Harmon’s efforts have not borne fruit, dying in one form or another due to lack of support. Though his latest version, Senate Bill 1657, passed both chambers, it was vetoed by Gov. Bruce Rauner in March.
And last week, Harmon failed to muster enough votes to call for an override of that veto.
But despite this, Harmon plans to reintroduce the language of the bill via an amendment and is more optimistic now that gun dealer licensing could pass.
“People ask me, why is it different now?” Harmon said at a Moms Demand Action rally last week. “Why do we seem to have some wind at our back finally after I’ve been banging my head against the wall for 16 years?”
The answer, according to Harmon, begins with the moms who organized following the Sandy Hook school shooting. All that was needed was a fuse to ignite outcry for gun control legislation.
In Illinois, this fuse was lit in mid-February following both the shooting that killed 17 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida and the slaying of Chicago Police Commander Paul Bauer outside the Thompson Center in Chicago.
Those tragic events spurred lawmakers into action, prompting a slew of gun control measures in addition to Harmon’s. In the past few months, some bills have earned more support than others and it remains a question which ones will ultimately land on Gov. Rauner’s desk.