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Firearms manufacturers trade their opposition for exemption.

Bill SB-1657 passed in Illinois today by a one vote margin. This bill mandates state licensing for Illinois gun dealers, and it restricts all others to nine firearm transfers per year.

Jay Keller, the lobbyist for the Illinois Firearms Manufacturers Association (IFMA), lobbied for a carve out in exchange for the groups opposition to the bill, which in turn had the Prairie State firearms manufacturers removed from the licensing requirements. The two companies that provide the majority of funding for the IFMA are Springfield Armory and Rock River Arms.

Jay Keller and IFMA opposition to SB-1657 in March 2017.
Jay Keller and IFMA opposition to SB-1657 in March 2017.

In March of 2017 when Jay Keller and IFMA opposed SB-1657 it did not exempt manufacturers from licensing regulations. At a Senate hearing in that month Keller stated that IFMA would drop their opposition and change their position to neutral if the legislators exempted the state's gun manufacturers from SB-1657. State Senator Don Harmon then delivered with an amendment exempting big box stores and manufacturers.

Jay Keller and IFMA position changed to neutral.
Jay Keller and IFMA position changed to no position.

After that amendment, IFMA changed their position to neutral on the witness slip. With this opposition removed the bill went through Committee and to the Senate floor where it passed by the one vote margin.

Springfield Armory and Rock River Arms decision to cut a deal on licensing in Illinois is essentially co-operation with anti firearms legislators that sacrifices state gun rights. Only time will tell if these companies receive consumer backlash for the deal they and the IFMA made.

IFMA contributors
IFMA contributors

Sources; https://www.campaignmoney.com/political/527/illinois-firearms-manufacturers-association.asp