By: Robert Davis
The Illinois State Rifle Association (ISRA), a local arm of the NRA, filed a lawsuit in the Seventh Circuit Court challenging Section 68/5 of the Illinois State License Act, which makes it illegal for gun dealers to sell firearms without a state license.
“The political gamesmanship to get this legislation signed into law is appalling,” Richard Pearson, executive director for ISRA, said in a press release. “Rules and deadlines apparently mean nothing to advocates for gun control. Senate Bill 337 should have died in the 100th General Assembly. We are left with no choice but to challenge this terrible new law in court.”
SB 337 was passed under former Gov. Bruce Rauner’s watch, but is supported by current Gov. JB Pritzker, who signed it into law during his first days in office.
IRSA argues in their lawsuit that the state licensure is unnecessary because firearm dealers are already required to obtain a license from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives in order to operate.
“Section 68/5 of the License Act, as applied by the Defendants, place onerous restrictions on firearms dealers, which increase costs past the breaking point for many, for others at best to pass on to those who would be seeking to exercise their right to keep and bear arms, and place other restrictions that place an undue burden on the Plaintiffs’ ability to operate their businesses,” the lawsuit states. “From information supplied by the Illinois State Police, approximately 50% of the firearms dealers in the State of Illinois will not be remaining in business as a result of the License Act.”
Currently, federal licensure is determined by the number of hours a business has operated. It costs approximately $90 for established businesses to obtain a license for three years of operation.
The Illinois law requires dealers with no posted hours to pay $300 for a three-year license. If a dealer has posted hours, the dealer must pay $1,500 for a three-year state license – more than 16 times the cost of a federal license.
“There is no need for this law,” Pearson said. “The federal government already licenses gun dealers. All this does is create more red tape and increase the cost of doing business. We said we would challenge this law in court when it was signed, and today we are keeping that promise.”
Robert Davis is a general assignment reporter for Gunpowder Magazine. You can contact him with tips at RobertDavis0414 (at) gmail.com.