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Gun control: Illinois law requiring background checks among 'most stringent'

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, in signing the 'common-sense' gun-control law extending background checks to private sales, says it 'will help our law enforcement crack down on crime.'

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Semi-automatic handguns are seen on display at Capitol City Arms Supply in Springfield, Ill., Jan. 16, 2013.

Seth Perlman/AP

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Private gun sales in Illinois now require background checks after Gov. Pat Quinn signed tough new legislation intended to close a federal loophole that prevented law enforcement from tracking who was buying guns on the street.

“Guns are a plague on too many of our communities.… This common-sense law will help our law enforcement crack down on crime and make our streets safe,” Governor Quinn, a Democrat, said in a statement released Sunday.

Under the new law, Illinois joins 17 other states and the District of Columbia in extending background checks to private sales.

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But how these states carry out the checks differ. Some states, including Hawaii, Massachusetts, and New Jersey, require the purchaser to obtain a permit before buying the gun from a private seller, a step that automatically forces a background check. Others, including Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, and North Carolina, require background checks, but only for handguns.

In some states, including Oregon and Nevada, background checks are voluntary.

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