When people talk about banning guns, there’s typically little concern for the mom & pop gun stores that might be impacted. In fact, the news media rarely asks the question of just how these retail locations might deal with the aftermath.
Yet these stores represent real people. They’re not all Bass Pro Shops or some other mega-retailer. They’re typically small businesses.
And now, a lot of them are about to be hurt by the assault weapon ban in Illinois.
The business landscape for gun sellers across Illinois changed with the stroke of a pen Tuesday night as Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker, in one of the first acts of his second term, signed into law a sweeping ban on the sale of a wide range of semi-automatic firearms.
The measure, which also immediately bans the delivery, sale or purchase ammunition magazines of more than 10 rounds for rifles or shotguns and 15 rounds for handguns, took effect just a few hours after it received final approval on the last day of the state legislature’s lame-duck session.
Business owners who sell guns and ammunition that’s now banned were predictably angry.
Roger Krahl, who owns R-Guns in Carpentersville, said Wednesday that it is a “tragedy” that the new law affects law-abiding Illinoisans. His shop specializes in selling the kind of guns banned under the new law.
Gun stores still will be permitted to sell the otherwise-banned weapons to a list of exempted customers, including law enforcement and armed security personnel. The banned guns could also be sold to the federal government and sold or transferred to out-of-state buyers.
But “they essentially killed our retail or sales within the state,” Krahl said.
“There’s not a whole lot left that will be enough to support a business. I think that the state has just put a lot of hardworking people out of business and on the unemployment line,” he said.
Now I’m willing to bet money I don’t have that Gov. J.B. Pritzker doesn’t give a rodent’s posterior about these businesses. Gun store owners probably didn’t vote for him and so he isn’t going to give a good damn what they think about anything.
Yet he should.
The AR-15 and similar rifles are pretty much the most popular firearm model in the nation. Dozens of companies build a version of them and they’re big business throughout the nation. A lot of people want those specific firearms. Gun stores stocked their shelves with them because that’s what people wanted.
Now, with a stroke of a pen, they can’t sell them. They’re prohibited except for a handful of “exempt” people, but how many of them are there who are going to come into the stores?
These are small businesses. These are people’s livelihoods. Just because you don’t like the product they sell doesn’t mean you’re justified in doing this.
But I don’t think people like Pritzker care. For them, running gun stores out of business is a feature, not a bug. They don’t care about people like these, and that’s perhaps one of the greatest evils in this whole mess.
Check out Wednesday’s Cam & Co. for more on this perspective.