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Gun Owners Rally In Springfield While Gun Dealer Lincensing Veto Remains

The Illinois General Assembly was unable to override Governor Bruce Rauner’s veto of a measure to license gun shops. The deadline to vote was Wednesday -- the same day hundreds of gun owners marched to the Statehouse to ask that legislators oppose the measure. 
 State Sen. Don Harmon, an Oak Park Democrat, said in a statement he didn’t have the necessary votes in the House to call for the override. 

He said he will continue to work on the issue. "In the past few days, I have had productive conversations with suburban Republican members, in particular, Senator Chris Nybo, that make me believe we can create a new path to regulating gun dealers in Illinois," Harmon said.

Earlier in the week, Harmon said he was sure he had the necessary 36 votes in the Senate, but wouldn't consider the override if he wasn't sure about support in the House. He was running against time and the decision to drop the vote fell on the same day of the annual Illinois Gun Owner Lobby Day. 

Some were concerned the event would sway lawmakers, but at the rally that took place outside the Statehouse, it was clear some were set on their decision. State Rep. Monica Bristow, a Godfrey Democrat, was one of several lawmakers to address the crowd in support. She joined 51 others in February to vote against the measure when it first passed out of the House.

Those who took part in the rally say it was a coincidence the deadline to override the governor's veto would happen on the same day.

Among those who lobbied lawmakers during the day, was 17-year-old Gabriel Stevens, wearing the gold Illinois Gun Owner Lobby Day t-shirt. Stevens, his siblings, and father said they consider their participation as a civic engagement opportunity. Stevens said this wasn't his first time to join. “The reason we’re all out here today is for freedom and everyone should have the right to bear arms."

Others who joined the rally said the gun dealer licensing legislation would be harmful to small shops if they couldn't afford the licensing fees. 

Harmon said his plan is to add language from the current proposal on to an existing bill and continue the conversation with his colleagues in the General Assembly. 

Daisy reported on statehouse issues for our Illinois Issues project. She's a Public Affairs Reporting program graduate from the University of Illinois Springfield. She also graduated from the Illinois Institute of Technology, and has an associates degrees from Truman College. Daisy is from Chicago where she attended Lane Tech High School.
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