CHICAGO | Illinois gun owners who fail to report the theft or loss of a weapon will face tougher restrictions under a new law signed Sunday by Gov. Pat Quinn.
The law closes a background check loophole for the sale or transfer of a firearm from a private party. It also requires firearm thefts or losses to be reported within 72 hours.
Under the new law, private sellers must now contact the state police, which will search records to determine whether the potential gun buyer has a valid Firearm Owner's Identification card. If the FOID card is found to be valid, state police will issue an approval for a purchase or transfer to occur within the next 30 days.
Quinn, a staunch supporter of gun control, signed the legislation at a South Side Chicago park where off duty Chicago police officer Thomas Wortham was fatally shot in May 2010.
He was flanked by members of the Wortham family and Illinois gun control advocates.
The law, Quinn said, "will protect all of us when guns get into the wrong hands."
Democrats State Sen. Kwame Raoul and state Rep. Mike Zalewski sponsored the bill. It's also supported by Chicago Police Chief Garry McCarthy.
Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez said the legislation will help police identify suspicious patterns of behavior by persons who fail to file reports yet claim their guns were lost or stolen after they are recovered at a crime scene. Alvarez said the Illinois Council on Handgun Violence spent hours in her office advocating for the legislation.
The requirement to report thefts goes into effect immediately. The background check changes start next year.