Illinois’ new “Gun Safety and Responsibility Act” is hardly a vicious animal.
It’s more like a neutered lap dog.


Illinois Gun Safety and Responsibility Act (HB1189) takes effect January 1st, 2014.

The bill requires private Illinois residents to check on the validity of a prospective firearm buyer’s FOID card by calling the Illinois State Police or checking on the ISP website.

“You have to call in private transfers!” people are saying.

We say don’t get too worked up over this new “law” and we’ll tell you why:  It’s all bark and zero bite.  Not even a nibble.


The background

The bill, HB1189, was passed in the last session as a gift to those opposed to right-to-carry to have “something” to take back to the gun-grabber types in Chicago.

It was a bad year for advocates of strict gun control laws.

  • Illinois got right-to-carry.  Illinois has been the remaining beach-head for anti-gunners and their dream of civilian disarmament in the form of denying right-to-carry.  They lost that.
  • The new carry bill has pre-emption on most local gun control ordinances written in.  Home rule cities cannot regulate stricter transportation requirements of firearms as that’s now legally designated the state’s function.  Most anything relating to handguns is now off-limits to local government regulations.
  • Chicago’s gun registration system was gutted.
  • Chicago’s “approved gun list” was struck off the books
  • Illinois’ State Supreme Court ruled 9-0 that Illinois’ former Unlawful Use of Weapons law was unconstitutional.
  • Scary gun bans (those so-called “xxxxxx-weapons bans”) can no longer be enacted and current ones are teetering on extinction as well.  Any existing ones struck down by the courts cannot be replaced and litigation is nearing a decision to establish constitutionality.
  • Illinois got short-barreled rifles in 2013 as well, something most gun banners still don’t recognize or understand.

Michael Madigan had to give the Pat Quinns, Rahm Emanuels and Tom Darts of the world something.

The Gun Safety and Responsibility Act (HB1189) was the proverbially empty box with a bow on top.

Why are we calling this an empty box?


The bill

The new “law” mandates, and we quote (from page 19, lines 10-15):

(1) In addition to the other requirements of this
paragraph (k), all persons who are not federally
licensed firearms dealers must also have complied with
subsection (a-10) of Section 3 of the Firearms Owners
Identification Card Act by determining the validity of
a purchaser’s Firearms Owner’s Identification Card.

If you scroll on down a little further in the bill, under “Sentence” for violating the various provisions of the law (page 22, lines 15-17):

… a violation of
subparagraph (1) of paragraph (k) of subsection (A) shall
not be punishable as a crime or petty offense.

In case you’re wondering, that first quote above is subparagraph (1) of paragraph (k) of subsection (A):  the private transfer “requirement”.

In other words, if you elect to not make that call to verify your friend’s FOID card is really valid, it shall not be punishable as a crime or even a petty offense (think traffic ticket).

To distill it even further for the lowest of the low-information voters:  The bill is all bark and no bite.

It’s got less teeth than Missouri’s CCW law when it comes to prohibited locations (basically, outside of certain public transportation venues, all property owners can do is ask you to leave if they discover you are carrying in so-called “prohibited” locations… and only if you refuse to leave – like an idiot – can the responding police then fine you $50 for trespass and they can’t take your gun).

There are some other provisions in this bill, but the big one that’s got gun owners worried is this “private transfer call-in” provision.

Don’t worry about it, folks.

Don’t take our word for it.  Read it yourself.

So long as you comply with the requirements of the FOID Act to retain the proper transfer information of a firearm sale to a private individual for a period of ten years, you’ll be fine.  (Just another reason not to sell guns on Craigslist or to shady-looking folks.)

It’s also worth noting that some people are castigating the NRA-ILA for not fighting this bill tooth and nail.  (Example)

Frankly, limited NRA-ILA resources were spent beating back a state-wide scary gun ban and a proposed magazine ban, among other nasty proposals, particularly in the weeks and months after Sandy Hook.

Good strategy says you pick your battles to win the war and this hill just wasn’t worth dying for, especially if it would have potentially made conditions more favorable to passage of one of these other onerous bills (that missed passage by as few as one or two votes in some instances).


7 thoughts on “You need to know: Illinois’ new Gun Safety and Responsibility Act (HB1189)”
  1. Thank you, John, and all the GSL folks for all you do for us.

    We appreciate that you’re clarifying this.

    And happy New Years.


  2. John, and all our friends at GSL, I wish to echo Sam’s sentiments.

    Thanks for all that you do, your passion for the Second Amendment and gun ownership, running the site, doing all the news-gathering that you do, conducting the monthly meetings, coordinating with Todd Vandermyde, etc.

    You guys ROCK!

    Happy and healthy 2014 to all and rememmber, don’t pull that piece unless you intend to use it.


  4. Jon my state senator is telling me something different. He was one of only 15 senators to vote against the bill.

    He was also a former prosecutor.

    He says we “MUST” use the system to verify private sales and transfers even to family memebers.

    i say its a bad law and should be repealed. Toothless now doesnt mean toothless forever

  5. Jon,

    First, let me say I love your organization. You guys (and gals) are on the forefront of the resistance and I appreciate it.

    I think the situation is more complex that you suggest with the new law. You quote the portion of the law which amended the unlawful sale and transfer statute (720 ILCS 5/24 A(k)(1)), however, there is also language in the FOID Act with a penalty which has no exception to it. Violations of the FOID Act which don’t have some other specific penalty attached are Class A misdemeanors. 430 ILCS 65-3 (a-10) requires the call in, 430 ILCS 65/14(e) mandates the punishment. Two different statutes criminalizing the same thing. The statute you cite correctly(unlawful sale and transfer) exempts a person from punishment, but the FOID Act does not.

    This is what I would look out for. I still think prosecutors in counties we all know by name will still be able to push this abomination against we the people.

    1. Jason,

      Thanks for the kudos.

      Violations of the act which don’t have some other penalty attached…

      You said it yourself. This section / violation has a sentence attached. It’s a NON-criminal, NON-petty offense.


    2. John,

      Sorry, I left out the h earlier.

      This section, in the FOID statute does not have a penalty sentence attached. That sentence is in the criminal code, 720 ILCS 5/24, not 430 ILCS 65.

      Unless the suggestion is that a person can raise the exemption language in 720 ILCS 5/24 which specifically states in applies to 720 ILCS 5/24-3(A)(k)(1) as a defense to a criminal charge for violating 430 ILCS 65-3(a-10)…maybe that would work. But, I don’t think it can be counted on as a sure thing.

      The problem is when a person reads the public act, it isn’t clear that language inserted in one statute doesn’t carry over to another statute modified. So, by reading out of the public act, I think it creates a false impression that the exception language was inserted into both statutes.

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