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Illinois’ Gun Dealer Licensing Bill Goes to Governor; No Comment From Springfield Armory or Rock River Arms

March 2, 2018


Wednesday in Illinois, the Gun Dealer Licensing bill (SB-1657) passed through the House of Representatives and now travels to the Governor’s Desk.  This bill made it through the Illinois Senate the day before the 2017 NRA Convention thanks in part to Springfield Armory and Rock River Arms’ lobbying group trading opposition to the bill in exchange for a carve-out for the two companies.  There has been no public comment from either company on the passage of the bill.

From April 27, 2017 at TTAG:


Earlier today, the Illinois State Senate passed bill SB-1657 by a one-vote margin. While its prospects are still unsure in the House, if signed by Governor Bruce Rauner, the new law will mandate state licensing for all Illinois gun dealers. It will also restrict all others in Illinois to nine firearm transfers per year.

The lobbyist for the Illinois Firearms Manufacturers Association (IFMA), Jay Keller, traded that group’s opposition to the bill in exchange for a carve-out, removing Prairie State firearms manufacturers from the licensing requirements.

Two companies provide the bulk of the funding for IFMA: Springfield Armory and Rock River Arms.

The bill, if signed by Governor Bruce Rauner, will mandate state licensing for all Illinois gun dealers. Part of that licensing will include open-ended regulatory burdens issued not only by the state, but also by local authorities.  It also ends private transfers of firearms and will ration the general public in Illinois to nine firearm transfers per year.

In fairness, Springfield Armory and Rock River each pulled out of their lobbying group that helped make this bill possible.  But not before their money paid tens of thousands of dollars in political donations to rabidly anti-gun politicians like Democrat House Speaker Michael Madigan and Democrat Senate President John Cullerton, courtesy of their lobbying outfit IFMA.

From TTAG:

The gun community continues to react to news of a deal made by Springfield Armory and Rock River Arms to carve out an exemption from a state licensing scheme (SB-1657). Both Springfieldand Rock River Arms have issued statements denying any knowledge of the deal negotiated on their behalf by the lobbyist for the Illinois Firearms Manufacturing Association (IFMA). An organization funded by Springfield Armory and Rock River Arms.

We can now reveal that Springfield and Rock River have, through IFMA, donated tens of thousands of dollars to Illinois anti-gun politicians over the last several years.


In 2012, IFMA wrote a check for $10,000 to Illinois Senate President John Cullerton‘s campaign fund. The NRA-PVF F-rated Cullerton has stood in the way of pro-gun rights legislation in Illinois for years. He refuses to allow pro-gun rights bills to receive a committee hearing, much less an up-or-down vote on the Senate floor.


The above is from page 8 of the IFMA 2012 IRS Form 990. A search of the Illinois State Board of Elections’ comprehensive list of IFMA political donations reveals no record of that check.  Violations of the Illinois Election code are punishable by criminal and civil penalties.

IFMA also donated $1,000 to the Illinois Senate Democratic Victory Fund. That expenditure failed to appear on IFMA’s Federal Form 990 for the year.

IFMA’s $50,000 payment to J Alexander Hunt, Inc. — listed in the 2012 Form 990 — also caught our eye. IFMA’s  lobbyist Jay Keller does business under the name J Alexander Hunt, Inc. The company shares a post office box address with IFMA.


Searching for J Alexander Hunt’s political donations atIllinoisSunshine.org reveals that J Alexander Hunt also donated $10,000 to Citizens for John Cullerton. Which means IFMA and J Alexander Hunt combined contributed $20,000 to the Cullerton campaign’s war chest.

The money from Rock River Arms and Springfield Armory channeled through IFMA, however, failed to convince Cullerton to moderate his antipathy to gun rights. Not long after receiving the cash, Cullerton appeared at a gun control event.


Despite the failure of the 2012 contributions to further Second Amendment rights in the Land of Lincoln, the company employed by Springfield and Rock River Arms, J Alexander Hunt, Inc., made a $5,000 gift to Friends of Kwame Raoul, an NRA-PVF D-minus-ratedstate senator.

IFMA also provided a $3550 in-kind sponsorship for a fundraising golf outing organized by NRA-PVF F-rated Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, another anti-gun pol.

IFMA sent another $10,000 check to Citizens for John Cullerton, matching their 2012 contribution. Once again, our search of the Illinois State Board of Elections‘ records failed to show the donation.

IFMA dropped $2500 into NRA-PVF F-rated Illinois Senator Antonio Munoz “Citizens for Antonio Munoz” mailbox. That contribution isn’t found in our Illinois State Board of Elections (ISBE) search of IFMA campaign contributions. Neither is the $5,000 donation to Friends of Kwame Raoul. But it was reported on IFMA’s 2013 Form 990.


And now that Dealer Licensing Scheme goes to the Illinois Governor’s desk, putting him in a bind in a re-election year.  Does Gov. Rauner veto the bill, angering enough suburban Chicagoland voters that he thinks he can’t win re-election?  Or does he sign the bill angering a good portion of the Prairie State’s 2.25 million gun owners, thereby killing his re-election chances?

We, as People of the Gun, will lean hard on the governor to veto the measure.  At the same time, we can count on the other side to pull out all the stops to urge Rauner to sign it.  Will freedom and liberty win?  Time will tell within 90 days.

5 Responses to Illinois’ Gun Dealer Licensing Bill Goes to Governor; No Comment From Springfield Armory or Rock River Arms

  1. george b on March 2, 2018 at 11:58 am

    The gun dealer licensing bill will drive small FFL dealers out of business. Its unfair and violates the Spirit of the Founding Fathers.

    A multi-tiered legislation designed to give some businesses a pass while forcing others to comply sounds like a violation of the commerce clause.

    The law must apply equally to all or to none!

    And YES i will say it; It is an Infringement upon the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

    We gun owners need to get back to the words "Shall Not Be Infringed" 

    The word “Safety” is not in the Constitution or the 2 article of amendment.

  2. Hippi on March 2, 2018 at 12:56 pm

    I all ready saw a commercial last night urging rauner to sign the bill sitting on his desk to "lead the country in gun reform" no dout paid for by madigan

    • george b on March 2, 2018 at 2:39 pm

      If the left is telling Rauner to lead the nation in gun control; this tells me Madigan understands the history of gun control in this country.

       During the 1960’s we had Race Riots and fear of more social unrest. A massive push for nation wide gun control became fluid. Illinois during this period passed the FOID card law with tremendous pressure from Governor Otto Kearner and Mayor Daley.

       President Johnson rewarded Governor Kearner by appointing him the head of a commission to study the cause of the race riots and social unrest. The final report was named the Kearner Report. The Kearner report along with the passage of the FOID card law in Illinois helped apply political cover for congress to pass the 1968 GCA. The claims were if a heartland state like Illinois could pass gun control so could congress.

       One issue in the Kearner report that helped push gun control was this; Congress was afraid that a “Black Nut might shoot at a “White Nut’ and the White nut would return fire.


      The purpose of the 1968 GCA was to STOP the mail order sales of firearms. (It was suggested that the Black groups were arming with mail order fire arms.)


      The FOID card law was about stopping people outside of the state from coming into the State and Starting a shooting war.


      Here is some history; the amount of fear and pressure that was put onto people to accept gun control during this time was unbelievable. The Democrats used the crisis of racial violence to push through their agenda and labeled anyone that opposed. (Notice the pattern?)  



      (During this period my father who had been a police officer was told by the sheriff the FOID card was passed to stop Blacks in Chicago from killing people and burning the city down)


      (How many people know there was a 2 week running Race war about 30 miles west of Detroit. The fear was that battle was coming to Illinois.)

  3. JJ on March 2, 2018 at 4:58 pm

    Thank you for reporting this.  There needs to be a backlash.  I'm never buying another Springfield or RRA.

  4. todd v on March 7, 2018 at 11:43 am

    Springfield has actually been on the ground here these past weeks and have helped out a lot