Illinois Governor JB Pritzker signs legislation that helps address gun violence to expand background checks, mental health funding

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker signs legislation that helps address gun violence to expand background checks, mental health funding

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AURORA, Ill. (WLS) — A new law signed by Governor J.B. Pritzker Monday aims to address gun violence in Illinois.

The governor met with legislators, gun-safety advocates and mass-shooting survivors in Aurora to sign House Bill 562.

“Illinois is taking a common-sense approach to reform and we are doing so with votes from both sides of the aisle,” Pritzker said.

The governor’s announcement in Aurora is significant as the city continues to recover from the 2019 Henry Pratt mass shooting that left five dead and multiple others wounded, including officers.

“We cannot bring back the precious souls of the lives that were stolen, but we have channeled that pain into action and, God willing, preventing the next shooting by keeping guns out of those who wish to do harm,” said Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman.

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The law is the latest effort to address gun violence as a public health crisis, which builds on a $128 million investment in violence protection programs. The landmark legislation expands background checks on all gun sales in Illinois and provides mental health funding for communities most impacted by gun violence. Part of those funds will come from conceal and carry license fees, Pritzer said.

It will also modernize the Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card system, which hasn’t been updated since its creation over 50 years ago, according to officials. It will also create a statewide stolen gun database.

“We are also taking steps to make sure responsible gun owners aren’t held back an antiquated licensing system which hasn’t seen significant updates since its founding,” Pritzker said.

As part of the modernization, the state is also establishing a bipartisan appeals board for those who feel they were wrongly denied a license.

RELATED: IL FOID card, concealed carry license delays leave residents on edge as carjacking cases surge

“It is a fix-all? No. But every little thing we can do, every little loophole we can close, every inch we can gain in public safety, it all adds up to be able to reduce the chances that someone is going to be killed by a firearm,” said Brendan Kelly, Director of Illinois State Police.

HB 562 will take effect on January 1, 2022, with the exception of the universal background check which will take effect January 1, 2024.

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