On Sunday, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed a gun-control measure that broadened the scope of background checks and added a number of new measures for gun owners and would-be gun purchasers.
Besides background checks for all persons seeking to buy a gun, the new law also requires gun owners to inform state authorities if a gun goes missing or is lost.
While signing the bill into law at Nat King Cole Park, where an off-duty police officer was killed in 2010 with an illegally trafficked gun, Quinn said, “It’s going to help our law enforcement … It’s going to help all of us be safe.”
The law makes it mandatory with immediate effect that gun owners must report police within 72 hours of finding that a firearm is missing.
From Jan 1, 2014, gun owners will need to inform state police and verify the eligibility of the gun purchaser before selling a gun.
Under the previous gun control law in Illinois, purchasers had to verify their backgrounds only if they were buying guns from a licensed gun seller or from a gun show.
Under the new law, anyone buying a gun within Illinois has to verify background and eligibility regardless of the source from where the gun is purchased.
Quinn said in his speech during the signing ceremony, “Guns are a plague on too many of our communities … Making sure guns do not fall into the wrong hands is critical to keeping the people of Illinois safe. This commonsense law will help our law enforcement crack down on crime and make our streets safer.”
While under the previous law, gun buyers were required to present a firearm owner’s identification card issued by the Illinois State Police to applicants who passed a screening of state mental health records and criminal records check, now the seller would also need to call a hotline and verify the validity of the FOID produced.
Even though the saying “When guns would be outlawed only outlaws would have guns” remains true to an extent – it is also true that most illogical massacres like that in the movie theater in Colorado, or the killing of the children in Newtown, or the massacre in Virginia Tech in 2007, have not been committed by outlaws, but by mentally unstable people who obtained access to a gun.
While making measures for purchasing guns more stringent may not prevent tragic incidents from happening altogether, it does have the possibility of reducing their frequency.