Illinois Governor Pat Quinn [official website] on Sunday signed a gun safety bill [HB 1189 text] that will require background checks [press release] for all gun purchases in the state as well as the reporting of all lost and stolen guns. The new law expands the state's previous background check requirements, which covered gun purchases from licensed firearms dealers or those occurring at gun shows, to cover gun sales between private parties as well. The law also requires all owners of firearms whose firearms are lost, misplaced or stolen to report the loss or theft to local law enforcement. Gun owners will have 72 hours after learning of the loss or theft to report it. Gun purchasers who wish to buy a gun in the state will have to obtain a firearm owners identification (FOID) card, which is issued by Illinois state police to applicants who have passed a screening of criminal and mental health records. The seller must then call a state-run hotline [Reuters report] to check the validity of a buyer's FOID card before making the sale. The new reporting requirement for lost and stolen guns is set to take effect immediately, while the new background check system will take effect in January of next year.
Passage of the Illinois bill is the latest development in the national gun control debate. Last month the Illinois Senate joined with the Illinois House of Representatives to pass a bill [JURIST report] that permits state residents to carry concealed firearms with limited restrictions. In April the US Supreme Court declined to hear a challenge [JURIST report] to a New York state gun law, which requires those who desire to carry a concealed handgun to show they have a special reason to do so before they can obtain a license. In March Utah Governor Gary Herbert vetoed a bill [JURIST report] that would have allowed citizens to carry an unloaded, concealed gun without a permit. Also in March the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled [JURIST report] that Maryland can require concealed-carry handgun permit applicants to provide a "good and substantial reason" for wanting to carry a gun outside the home.