Gov. JB Pritzker on Monday signed a controversial bill that will mandate background checks for all gun transfers and mandates the Illinois State Police remove guns from people with revoked firearms ID cards. 

The measure signed by Pritzker, House Bill 562, was initially a proposal revamping license for home inspectors but was amended in the General Assembly by Democrats as an anti-gun proposal. The bill passed the state House 75-40 in its final form and the Senate 40-17, along rough party lines. 

"The bill I sign today delivers to Illinoisans everywhere the most comprehensive reform to our state firearms laws in over a generation," said Pritzker, a first-term Democrat that has long backed gun control efforts. "The state will now require universal background checks on all gun sales in Illinois."

Under HB562, the expanded background check requirement will start in 2024. As noted by the NRA in opposition to the measure, private person-to-person sales would have to pay a licensed gun dealer up to $25 to keep a record of the transaction for up to 20 years, under threat of a potential felony charge. 

Firearms industry groups maintain that universal background checks don't address crime guns, which are generally obtained by illegal means such as theft or straw buyers, and are largely unenforceable without nationwide registration. 



Going past the expanded check requirements, the new law mandates the Illinois State Police remove guns from people with revoked Firearms Owner ID cards who have not surrendered their guns already. Speaking of FOID cards, the legislation also creates stronger identification factors for the cards, such as upping the frequency of background checks on cardholders and offering concealed carry license holders the option of tying the two cards together. 

The FOID card process itself has long been a contentious one. Adopted in 1968, more than 20 years before the now-standard NICS background check system, has been under fire for years. Critics argue it is an outdated process that is ineffective at curbing the ability for criminals to get guns and has called for it to be scrapped. Proponents of the restriction say it should not only be kept but expanded to include extra checks and fingerprinting, coupled with a price increase to pay for it.

Regardless, the FOID system in its current form is overloaded, with backlogs for issued cards frequently running over 120 days from the time of application despite a legal requirement to issue them within 30 days. Valid for 10 years, renewals are also painfully slow. According to reporting earlier this year from the Chicago Sun-Times, approximately 138,000 FOID card renewal applications were pending with the Illinois State Police at that time.

While running for governor in 2018 with the support of anti-gun groups, Pritzker had a lengthy public plan on gun control to include universal background checks on every firearm transferred in the state, bans on “assault weapons,” high-capacity magazines, and bump stocks; stepping up the state’s input of records to the federal NICS background check system, and increasing gun crime investigations. In 2008 while running for Congress, he proposed a ban on handguns and once served as chairman of the advisory board of the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence.

Banner image: Dan Wesson Pointman PM10B 10mm in the Vault.