Courtesy Illinois News Network (
Courtesy Illinois News Network (

Illinois' new Gun Dealer Licensing Act doesn't even take effect until July, but already it has claimed casualties. A number of small dealers have opted to close their businesses rather than submit to the expensive new rules and regulations.

As of January, 2019, Illinois has 2,464 FFL licensees. Todd Vandermyde of the trade group FFL Illinois estimates that number will fall by at least 30% before the end of the year thanks to the new gun dealer mandates. Many small dealers simply don't want the hassle or the expense the new law requires.

The Washington Free Beacon has the story:

Several gun dealers in Central and Southern Illinois are closing their businesses rather than pay what they’re saying is thousands of dollars in costs to comply with a law enacted last month.

When he signed the bill into law last month, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said the Gun Dealer Licensing Act was about stopping straw buyers.

“The reason for it is to deter straw purchases so that we can prevent someone from buying a gun for someone else who is not legally allowed to own a gun,” he said at the signing ceremony in Chicago.

For Jim Barnard, 69, couldn’t see a way to afford the cost of compliance with the new law. After more than 4 decades of operation, the owner of Fishman’s Sporting Goods in Girard had to make a tough decision.

“I’m just going to retire, I guess,” he said. “I hope that I can live off of what I’ve saved over the years.”

He made the decision to close his business in late January.

Mick Moore made the same decision for Walnut Creek Shooters Supply in Brownstown after seeing not only the cost of the license and the camera system. but also the uncertainty additional regulations and more fees.

“It’s just not worth it,” he said. “I’ve fought it and fought it but I’m just not up to the fight much longer.”

Over at the FFL Illinois Facebook page, a few dealers talked about their plans.

  • William Dykstra  – I'll be shutting down mine when my license expires in April. The costs outweigh the benefits at this point for a smaller dealer as it would wipe out most of my current profit to keep up with all the additional costs with annual training, electronic records, video surveillance, alarm systems, and licensing costs that this law requires. No way I can keep it open as a part time thing anymore. I don't have the capital to expand it beyond that quickly while they expand my costs over the next 3 years with various parts of the law becoming active each year.
  • Kristofer Swinburn – 90 days of video is where I decided to turn in my FFL until I move to IOWA. That’s like (45)terabytes of storage for 4 camera. That’s Sounds like some serious equipment.
  • Mike Weller – We have been open since 2011 and won’t be renewing this go around. We are also asking customers to get their guns out of pawn immediately.
  • Bill Rusher  – I’ll be closing mine.

And Wild Dave's in Herrin posted an announcement January 17th, just hours after Governor Pritzker signed the measure into law. From Facebook:

Due to the new Illinois legislation on gun dealers, Wild Dave’s will be discontinuing gun sales after the current firearms stock is liquidated. We have seen a lot of changes in the firearms business over the last 5 years, but it is becoming increasingly difficult to operate a business that sells firearms. In spite of rising insurance costs, companies that refuse to work with firearms businesses, the inability to market and advertise on social media platforms, competing with big box stores, and increasing online firearm sales that have hurt our retail business, we have tried to hang on to an inventory to accommodate our loyal customers. With the new state licensing fees and requirements that will be put on us, it is no longer worth the liability to us.

We are incredibly sad that this day has come, but we will remain Wild Dave’s! We will be transitioning fully to a Toro and Gravely lawn equipment retailer, small engine service and repair shop, as well as a retailer for utility trailers.

We appreciate your business and loyalty over the last 5 years. We hope to earn your business in the lawn equipment and trailer products and services that we offer.

Visit us soon to take advantage of our remaining firearms and ammunition inventory.

Brandon Dempsey
Owner, Wild Dave’s

Others have put their dealerships up for sale in an effort to recoup something as they shut down their business.

FFL Illinois' Todd Vandermyde also noted how this bill will devastate gun shows. "Most of the dealers at gun shows are these small, home dealers who will fold rather than face these new mandates," Vandermyde said in a phone interview with TTAG. "Imagine what gun shows will look like when 30% of their vendors go away."


UPDATE:  I've been told by a large Central Illinois dealer that scores of FFLs have either already surrendered their licenses, or are boxing up their 4473s to ship to ATF's headquarters, along with their licenses.  The exact number was 64 or 65.  

25 thoughts on “Illinois’ Local Gun Shops closing in face of new dealer licensing law”
  1. Seems like their are only two options. Shut down or move to a more firearms friendly state.

    Plus, it looks like more states are becoming Constitutional Carry states. 

    By the way the number of people leaving this state because of the increasing taxes seems to be increasing daily, also.

  2. From the Declaration of Independence:

    "He has called together legislative bodies…for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures. "

    That is what Pritzker and the Democrats' "sole purpose" is with laws such as this. "fatiguing" and "compliance". It occurs throughout America procured by the Democrats. It's not about gun violence or order. It's to fatigue gun owners and the industry surrounding gun ownership; to make gun ownership a burden for all; to make self defense of persons a null concept left only to the state. To fatigue the people into submission and relinquishing their Constitutional rights. Now you will become a criminal whereas prior to such poisonous legislation you were a law-abiding citizen proud of this country. But you are no good and cannot be trusted. You are to be stigmatized and brought to submission.

    Absolutely no different than the British Crown's attempts in the 1770's. They are robbing us of our Constitutional rights.

    If you read the full text of the Declaration of Independence you may come to realize something. The words in it could apply and seem to reference to the Democrats and liberals in America today.

    The good are in trouble.

  3. SMART MOVE!  Now who's going to be left to sell all of those terrific Springfield Armory & Rock River products?  I have to say that the "Mia Culpa" Springfield Armory video & 2A support letter just gets funnier, and funnier!  😉

  4. We are losing dealers in my area. One dealer told me he is shutting down. I have been told others are to follow.

     The Bolsheviks play the long game and they will use every crisis  possible. 

     Its time to “Vote with a Friend.”.

     Everyone knows a family member neighbor or friend that is like minded but does not vote.  Its time to encourage them to vote

    1. vote for who     dems stack the ballots      republicans don't run in iL   esp not up here north of I80

  5. Mfreds Guitars & Guns in Mattoon will cease selling firearms when this law takes effect.  Thanks FAT ASS may your prison term be long when this is over…….

  6. Support High Caliber Training Center in Urbana. They Are one of the better prepared Dealerships that already had some of the New requirements in place. They are Damn good people and We need them to stay open. Go to IGOLD in Springfield on 27 March! We need to fight!


    1. I would give them a lot of business if their darn memberships weren't so expensive. Even with a first responder discount it's three hundred and fifty bucks a year. That's highway robbery if you ask me.


      Just remember folks elections have consequences. I cannot imagine why any gun owner or Sportsman would ever vote Democrat. Ever.

    2. That's not that high. Tac Shack is more, but I want them to stay open so I support them. So when gun dealers close, don't complain. 

    3. Check out KAM Shooting Sports in Morton. Great people and a great indoor range. Decent prices also. They are located on Detroit St behind Nana’s Ace Hardware in Morton. 

  7. Of the three fairly local dealers two are closing and I haven’t heard anything about the other one.

  8. Soon Bj Prickster will sit atop a heap of sanctuary seekers displacing the good people/businesses fleeing the state and crime will have increased 30%-50% as a result of their many flawed policies further depleting the roles of law abiding citizens who will keep a watchful eye from a distance.

    I can only hope the individuals responsible for what will soon transpire will be held criminally liable and at minimum the eyes and ears of the remaining few honorable citizens will remember these treasonous actions at the polls.

    The truly blind shall never see while those forced to remain due to circumstances beyond their control will have little choice but to savage their futuresnin the next election cycle,too little ,too late?

  9. This can not be Constitutional. It must be looked at and Class Action Suit filed.   How can a State Government institute fees and costly regulations on businesses at any level, not to mention the Fees are not for all businesses and make the playing field unfair for some and others not having fees at all.   Not only Un-Constitutional  but also Un-,Fair business tactics against Small Business.  NRA, ISRA, where are your Attorneys at?   Been in Business Since 1970.   Followed all rules and Regulations of the BATF.  Now POS Illinois is ruining the Firearm Business for everyone in Illinois.  

  10. This is what happens when people sAy they don’t like either candidate for governor so they just don’t vote. Automatic vote for Prickster. Congratulations, you voted him in.

    1. I agree people just do not understand the election process.  We need to build a party if we want to get good people on the ballot. Getting involved and getting people on the ballot is a must in Illinois.

      Just look at the election fiasco in Chicago. Only Bolshevik democrats ran for mayor and a hard core leftist will win regardless of the out-come.

      The Chicago media is yapping about the low voter turn out.  It was a democrat election by democrats for democrats. 

      Why didn’t the Illinois Republican party find a candidate to run for Mayor?

      Does this mean there are no, pro-life, pro-gun, pro-lower tax people in Chicago?

      Could it be because so few people are involved in the Republican party in Chicago.

      The only good thing is Chicago is economic toast in the next 2-3 years. When the city fails big business will leave taking their money with them. Chicago’s collapse, providing the rest of the state can survive, will start to level the playing field.

      Getting involved now at the local and county level means we have a chance to take bake our state.

  11. All laws limiting access, ownership, requiring registration, and so on are challengeable due to non-infringement. The only laws any level of government can make are those that punish anyone who abused this Right in the commission of a crime. Showing that the communists are not concerned with criminals. They just want to disarm the citizens… Gun store owners need to file a joint suit against the state, take it to court and Sue… Aren't there any constitutional lawyers in the Land of Lincoln?

    1. I was wondering that myself. Also, if the Second amendment Foundation or Gun Owners of America might have someone in the area they could recommend bring forth a suit agianst this trash these pols are tring to push.

  12. 1. Complaint is:: To many Gun Thiefts by Ganges criminals Groops too! it true!!! Wake up Chicago Police Chief of Police is 4 Stars  on unform!!! He! the Boss!!! There is to many F.F.L.s Holders Retailer Gun Stores in State Of IL too! Do you agree!! There is 2464 F.F.Ls Dealers Retailers Store Fronts is most of them are small Busineses too!( I agree !!! ) We need to cut down about 2000 F.F.L.s Out too! By Sending Letter Your F.F.L is no longer getting Replace no more too!  An Your State License too. No longer being replaced too! The Solution is Let"s leave 464 Gun Dealers Stoes alone too! Agree! Solution is: This will cut down the number of F.F.L.s Licences near 2000 F.F.L.s is Cannselled out too! Agree!!  It will Be fewer Guns on the Streets in State of IL too! Fewer Guns will be not as many too! Agree!! The A.T.F shoould do it too! Cannselled F.F.L.s Renuals Applications is CiUt off too! Uncluding State Licenses is issued by the Country Sheriffis Dept how issued A State License for Gun Dealer Retailers too. Renuals For State Licenses is cut off too! Renuals is for State License is cut off too! Agree!! To mmany Guns getting Stolen out of Gun Stres too! It true!!! In THE city of Chicago too! True!!! The A.T.F should cit off Or Revoked Current F.F.L.. Licenses too! If those Guns not Logged in too! on the Record Book too! Agree!!! The Name Of the Type of Firearms an the Serial Number that identifives The Gun Iten Number too! Agree!!

    1. what did I just try to read!!!!   Someone owes me about 10 minutes of my life back for just trying to decipher that mess.

  13. Looks like somebody doubled down on the "kool-aide"…… Maybe an English class is in order?

  14. The laws made to get the Law Abiding Citizen businessman out of the gun business

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