In December of 2017, there were 2,467 federally licensed firearm dealers in Illinois. After new legislation goes into effect this summer, there will be at least one fewer dealer in the state, local media reports.
Lost Creek Trading Post has been raising the alert about Illinois’s new legislation regarding firearm dealers. The new laws duplicate many of the federal requirements and impose more strict and specific guidelines that dealers must follow or risk losing their license to sell.
Federal Firearms Licenses, FFLs, include a lot of paperwork and a $90 fee for a three-year license. Illinois’s new laws allow the State Police Department to charge up to $1,500 on top of that for a three-year license for a brick-and-mortar retail location, and up to $300 for those dealing out of their homes. That represents a significant financial burden for small businesses. Businesses that license more than one location for firearm sales will not be charged more than $40,000 for the three-year license. For a business like Walmart, which licenses more than 50 stores in Illinois, that’s a comparatively good deal.
Lost Creek Trading Post says that the new laws are so burdensome and onerous that they will be ceasing gun sales as of July 14th and closing their shop early this Fall and moving to Indiana. They have been in business in Marshall for more than 14 years.
“The Illinois Legislature’s Gun Dealer Licensing Act is unreasonable and cost prohibitive for us at this time. As of July 14th, we will be unable to sell firearms to you in Illinois. After this date, we may remain open a short time for sales of gun-related items, but no firearms,” Lost Creek posted on their Facebook page. “We would like to thank our friends and customers who have supported us over the years. It is sad that because of the lawmakers in Illinois, we are forced to close our store in Marshall.”
The Gun Dealer Licensing Act was originally vetoed in 2018 by the state’s Republican governor, Bruce Rauner. But the new Democratic governor, J.B. Pritzker, signed it into law in January 2019, just three days after taking office. Click here for a summary of the act’s requirements.
Dealers in Illinois were recently notified that they had only until June 17 to apply for licensure and until July 17th to become fully compliant. Lost Creek claims this deadline is too “burdensome and not to mention expensive.”
The licensing fees are to be reserved by the State Police to fund the licensing of dealers. Assuming there are still about 2,400 dealers in Illinois, the State Police certainly have their work cut out for them. Licensure requires not only paperwork but also onsite inspections of all licensed locations, including verifying adequate video surveillance. Additionally, anyone who fails the initial inspection will be re-inspected.
Lost Creek Trading Post claims that this sort of legislation without representation is a bad precedent for the country. On their Facebook page, which they offer updates about this legislation, they call on all gun owners to contact their legislators and quote German pastor Martin Niemöller’s poem, “First They Came…”
First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.