Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Governor unveils gun safety proposals

Through the use of a sweeping amendatory veto of existing gun legislation, Governor Bruce Rauner has introduced a list of new measures regarding gun safety – with specific provisions for school safety.

HB 1468, approved by the House of Representatives in February and by the Senate in March, sat on the governor’s desk until the last possible day for gubernatorial action. As passed by the legislature, the bill simply extended the 72 hour waiting period currently required before the purchase of hand guns to the purchase of assault rifles.

On May 14, the governor issued his amendatory veto with his comprehensive “specific recommendations for change.” One provision would allow for receipts that schools receive from the County School Facilities Sales Tax to be used for the costs of school resource officers (SRO) and mental health professionals. Currently, funds from the county-wide sales tax can only be used for school facility purposes.

The bill will now head back to the legislature where both chambers will have to accept the governor’s changes before it could become law.

For counties that have already adopted the county-wide sales tax for school facilities, they would have to go back to the voters to ask for authorization to also use the funds for SROs and mental health professionals. In the future, counties that have the sales tax question on the ballot would specify whether the receipts could be used for school facilities, SROs and mental health professionals, or both. Also, for those counties that impose the sales tax in the future, the county could place on the ballot a referendum on whether or not the tax should be reduced in rate or discontinued.

Other provisions proposed by the governor include

  • Requiring a 72 hour waiting period before the purchase of any firearm;
  • Allowing for family members and law enforcement to identify individuals who pose a danger to themselves or others to petition a court to disarm those individuals;
  • Strengthening laws regarding charging individuals with the most serious offense in cases involving the illegal use or possession of a firearm; and
  • Imposing the death penalty in cases of deliberately killing a law enforcement officer or committing mass murder.

Updates on how the legislature proceeds with HB 1468 will be provided in the Alliance Legislative Reports.