Local gun store owners concerned about Illinois licensing bill
By Andrew Shepperson
Lawmakers in an Illinois House committee advanced a bill this week that has many local gun store owners worried they may soon have to close up shop.
WSIL reported the legislation — Senate Bill 1657, sponsored by Democrat Sen. Don Harmon — was approved in a House judiciary committee this week and is now headed for a full vote on the House floor.
The proposal would essentially mandate state licensing for all Illinois firearms dealers, who are currently only required to be licensed at the federal level. The legislation carved out exemptions for big box stores and for small dealers who sell under 10 guns per year.
The move has local gun store owners, such as Bill Fenton of Murphysboro, worried the bill may put him out of business.
“I can’t sell guns right now at the price that they are going for very well, let alone if I have to raise the price because of all the money they are wanting me to spend,” said Fenton.
Mark Jones, a former Chicago Police officer who supports the bill, says the state-level regulatory system is needed because the ATF currently does not visit enough local gun shops to enforce federal regulations.
“The bottom line is ATF got to 6.3 percent of