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Lawsuit filed to stop Illinois gun dealer licensing bill

MARION (WSIL) — A new law takes effect Wednesday, requiring Illinois gun dealers to get a license through the state.

A gun rights group also filed a lawsuit this week to try and stop it.

DOCUMENTS: Lawsuit filed by Illinois State Rifle Association to stop gun dealer licensing bill

Pro Gun and Indoor Range in Marion is among hundreds of gun shops that applied for a new state license, requiring all businesses that sell guns to pay $1,500 for three years.

The fee is more than 16 times the cost of a federal license.

"The federal government already mandates us to have a license. This is a giant money grab for the state," salesman Randall Gustafson said.

The new rules include requiring trigger locks on firearms inside the shop and security systems, including surveillance equipment.

Gustafson said the new rules are vague though, and he’s not sure if his shop complies.

"If there was something written in stone, we could make progression, and we could get the shop secured and we could get the security measures in place to make the shop a successful shop in the eyes of the state," Gustafson said. "There’s a lot of confusion over this bill."

The Illinois State Rifle Association, joining other gun dealers in Sangamon County, filed a lawsuit hoping to stop the law.

Executive director Richard Pearson said the law will wipe out more than half of existing shops.

"The purpose of the law was never to fight crime," Pearson said. "The purpose of the law was to wipe out firearm dealers and it did that."

The Center Square, a conservative news outlet, reports only 1,140 dealers applied for a state license out of the 2,351 that have a federal license. That means the remaining dealers would be violating the law if they continued operation.

Gustafson said Pro Gun and Indoor Range will survive, but other shops in the area aren’t so lucky.

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