In 2015, almost 3,000 shootings took place in Chicago, devastating victims, their families and communities. At the same time, an increasing number of illegal firearms from out of state have been recovered at Illinois crime scenes. Legislation sponsored by Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont) aims to stop the flow of illegal firearms entering Illinois.
“Approximately 60% of guns used in crimes in Illinois come from out of state, and the number of guns that come from out of state being recovered at crime scenes is going up,” said Radogno. “Statistics show a disturbing trend – people who cannot legally purchase guns in Illinois are going to states with more lax background check requirements, purchasing firearms, and bringing them into our state where they are being used to commit crimes.”
House Bill 6303 takes on those who would seek to bring illegal firearms into Illinois, while not affecting the rights of lawful gun owners.
According to a recent study from the University of Chicago Crime Lab, between 2001 and 2010, the number of firearms coming in from out of state increased consistently each year. Additionally, during this time period the “time to crime” for guns recovered at crime scenes increased. This means that firearms coming across the Illinois border were being used to commit a crime in less than a year.
Radogno’s legislation provides law enforcement with tools to target gun trafficking by going after straw purchasers who have not been issued a current, valid FOID card, and obtain firearms outside of Illinois, to bring them back into the state with the intention of selling them illegally.
HB 6303 creates the offense of firearms trafficking and makes the offense a Class 1 felony for trafficking a firearm and a Class X felony for trafficking both the firearm and the ammunition.
“These illegally trafficked guns contribute to violence in our neighborhoods and places like Chicago,” said Radogno. “It’s time we address this trend by stopping the flow of illegal firearms entering Illinois to keep our communities safe.”
HB 6303 passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 17 and now heads to the Senate floor for consideration.