Last Thursday, the Illinois State Senate passed bill SB-1657 (Gun Dealer Licensing) 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.


To be clear, the original version of SB-1657 did not exempt manufacturers from the licensing regulations. At the time, Jay Keller and IFMA opposed it.


At a March Senate hearing, however, Keller stated that IFMA would drop its opposition to SB-1657 and go neutral if legislators gave the state’s gun makers a pass. State Senator Don Harmon delivered on his end of the deal with an amendment exempting big box stores and manufacturers from this scheme.

With that amendment, IFMA dropped its opposition to the bill, going neutral on the witness slip. That serves as a very public position on a bill in Illinois politics.


The bill then sailed through Committee. From there it went to the Senate floor, where it passed by the aforementioned one vote margin (note: 30 “yes” votes are required for a bill to pass in the Illinois Senate).


A few weeks ago, I asked both Springfield and Rock River for comment on the rumors of a then-pending deal with anti-gun legislators. Neither had any comment. Thursday night, Springfield CEO Dennis Reese issued a statement about the IFMA capitulation to The Truth About Guns:

“The legislative process is a fluid process. The bill has only moved through one chamber, and it is still in the process. We fully support the Second Amendment and stand by it. The Illinois Manufacturers Association will continue to fight and protect not only manufacturers, but dealers and the gun owner as well.”

Springfield Armory and Rock River’s decision to cut a deal on licensing in Illinois — enabling the antis’ desire to control FFL dealer sales — is a dangerous gamble. As we pointed out in our Question of the Day, Smith & Wesson and Ruger paid an enormous price when they sacrificed gun rights on the altar of government “cooperation.”

Will there be a similar consumer backlash here, or will The People of the Gun view this as a minor accommodation? We’ll see how this plays in the court of public opinion.

27 thoughts on “DEALER LICENSING PASSES SENATE: Springfield Armory, Rock River Sell Out IL Dealers, Gun Owners for Carve-Out”
  1. Oh yes, there are consequences.  Individually, we don't mean much to these manufacturers, but as a group, their livelihood depends up on us and their support of our rights. 

    For one, I'm not going with the XD I was looking at for my 2017 purchase.  They decided for me… it'll now be a 4gen Glock.

    Now, let's get the word out. 

    Do these manufacturers have no memory?   Gun owners (their customers) sure do.

    1. Here is a link to the actual amended bill.  I can find nothing about any exemptions or carve outs here.  Please peruse this bill and any of the amendments and help me find the textual evidence within the bill.  I am not a fanboy of either company, but really need to find real evidence to be able to make a logical and just decision moving forward.  Hopefully the link I am posting here works? Any comments are appreciated, positive or negative.

  2. I have three Rock RIver Arms ARs.  They are now for sale.  An Entry Tactical and an Operator in 5.56 and one in .458 SOCOM.  These are great rifles, but I'll stick with manufacturers who don't stab me and all other Illinois gun owners and dealers in the back to get themselves exempted from onerous laws they apparently think are fine for the rest of us.

    With friends like that . . .


    1. The funny thing is that is so stupid you probably think it's a principled position!

  3. Quislings.

    I hope they choke on their new HiPoint with a Hammer, too.  If I worked for them, I think I would be freshening up my resume.




    1. Where, if anywhere is SA or RRA mentioned in the actual bill, or any of the amendments?  I have searched high and low for any actual mention of either manufacturer in the bill or anywhere else in the IL gov legislative site?  I jumped all over this thing the day all this news came out, but can find no textual evidence of this supposed carve out.  I will support 2A all the way and always have, but I need to see real evidence (beyond what has been published and linked to so far) that this occured before going into full bore boycott mode.  I would ask anybody to please post the text of the exemption or carevout here, I can find nothing in the whole of the actual bill or ammendments that even mention RRA or SA.  Thanks for anything anybody can provide.  Please link or paste textual evidence in this thread, it would be greatly appreciated.

    2. They are mentioned, not by actual name, but are referred to in the exemptions section of amended version under Manufacturer Federal Firearms License, which was not originally included. 

      The actual text of the bill doesn't have to use, or actually say …"everyone is required, except Springfield Armory."
      After the amendment was made, the firearms association quit opposing it.

  4. I saw on the AR15.com forum something about campaign contributions made to anti-gun Democrats.  What's up with that?  I'm thinking these guys are circling the drain sort of like my morning constitutional does every day.

  5. I used to showcase an XDS when teaching CCW classes. It's now been replaced with an M&P Shield.  Might have to add a Glock43.  

    Eff you, Springfield. I heavily influence new purchase decisions and am responsible for dozens of purchases over the years. But it's going to swing the other way from here out. 


    Go to hell.

  6. I am in the market for a new gun and was thinking of these companies but not now. And I will tell all my gun owning friends about this. Thanks for selling us out. You will lose in the long run.


  7. I have 2 speingfield 1911s and 2 m1as I'm not going to get rid of my guns because of this but  I also will not invest in anymore of their products

    1. I agree, I have just one XDS but I am not going to get rid of it now since it's heavily depreciated. XDS is made in Croatia anyway. I am not going to blame them for their Judist US distributor. I hope Croatia can break their contract and sign up with someone with more integrity. Does Springfield even make any of their products or just OEM? It doesn't matter, FUCK THEM!! 


  8. I'll keep the 1911 I have, but I'll not buy another Springfield, never have had a RRA or the desire to own one, expensive junk in my opinion, but if I did have the desire it would have just went out the window, to hell with both of these companies…

  9. Well, they'll never get one penny from me. And I'll spread the word. If they aren't going to help us, they sure as beck won't get my business

    1. I was considering an XDs and the saint….  


      Picked up a ar556 and an American .45c  instead. 

      Good riddens Springfield!



    2. Strange you bought a Ruger product.  Seems to me Bill Ruger was adamant about banning high cap mags.  How soon people forget.  

    3. Bill's been worm food for almost 15 yrs, and the company did an about face. 

      S&W sold out too, then went bankrupt and changed owners (twice, if I recall correctly).

      So, I might forgive springfield after Reese is removed, all family ownership is removed, bankruptcy, new owners, double down on uncompromising support or our rights … and 20 years time? (But short those steps, then yeah, dead to me FOREVER)

  10. I live in Illinois, I've got 2 more yrs. here and I'll be joining the other 40,000 + people leaving this sinking state annually!! I do have 5 different Springfield Armory pistols, and 2 RR rifles. I won't be selling these, but I darn sure won't be buying anymore!! I will do all I can to spread the word about these 2 companies!

  11. I will not be supporting those who that do not support the Constitution. There are too many other choices available. 

  12. I own the XD mod.2 and a XDM. Wanted to get the Saint this spring and have the money set aside for this purchase,  Was wanting to see if they would come out with a 308 version. 

    I'M placing my XD's up for sale this week and going to save up more money and pick a different AR now. Have been a fan of Springfield for a long time now. Funny how fast things can change.  They FU@#ed up !!!!!

  13. As an Illinois FFL, I will no longer provide any FFL services to purchasers of SA or RRA

    firearms.   The retail merchants, auctioneers, and gun manufacturers have revealed their

    complete lack of fundamental principles by way of their latest legislative sell-out to Sen Harmon

    and his merry band of anti-2Amendment Democrat stooges.

    1. Why not?  It seems to me that RRA and Springfield were the only ones putting money in the lobbyist hands who at least had pull…without that opposition or bargaining you could be looking at much much worse…maybe something similar to California or Nee York.  

  14. Just spoke with a rep. from Rock River, THEY ARE NOT IN SUPPORT OF THIS BILL! The lobbiest group that switched their stance to Neutral did not do this without consulting RRA, RRA has received many calls about this issue and have broken ties with the lobbiest group and are releasing a statement this afternoon on their website!

    1. Pretty gullible aren't you. RRA and SA were 3 of the 4 positions in that group, they ran the damn thing. If you think they didn't know what was going on you probably voted for hitlery too.

      SA and RRA sold out the gun community of IL to save their own @$$e$. I had planned on picking up a SA M1A National Match, but they can shove it now. Building my NM AR now without any more RRA parts. I screwed up and put one of their triggers in it. Shoulda gone elsewhere but I bought it a couple months ago.

      WHEN the bill becomes law will they tell the gov to stick their exemption, hell no they won't!


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