SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA)– The holidays are the season of giving and some of those gifts are firearms. People hoping to get one this year may finder it harder to find the gift they are looking for as area gun retailers have closed up shop this year.
“Birds ‘N Brooks has been in business since 1973. They’ve been in this store’s building since 1985,” said employee Phil Davis.
When you look around the navy surplus store, you can find just about anything you can think of. “We sale military surplus, we sell military collectibles. It’s a really unique store, there’s no place else like it. We have people who’ve come from several hundred miles around just to see the store because it’s so unique,” Davis said.
After more than 46 years, the store had to put away one of it’s biggest sellers.” A law signed by Governor Pritzker just a few days after he took office requires dealers to pay for security upgrades including surveillance and an electronic database.
“It would’ve cost us anywhere between 18,000 and 38,000 dollars,” said Davis.
The Federal FirearmLicensees of Illinois said around 60 percent of the licensed gun retailers from 2018 are no longer selling guns.
Davis said Birds ‘N Brooks employees took a hit.
“People for generations have been buying guns from birds n brooks. I mean, I had a guy the other day, third generation was going to buy a gun for his grandson for Christmas. This was the only place he ever bought a firearm since 1973 and we are out of business now.”
The store liquidated their gun collection of more than 400 firearms in July. Though they things may seem bleak, they are hoping a countermove by gun advocates can turn things around.
“The one truth about legislation in Illinois: if it’s a gun law and it goes on the book, it’s never coming off,” Davis said. “Our only hope is to win a lawsuit with the Illinois State Rifle Association that we are apart of. [If it] prevails and rules this law unconstitutional.”
The State Rifle Association’s lawsuit was filed in July. No decision has been made yet. BFF Firearms LLC in Danville is also apart of the lawsuit as well as Personal Firearms Sales and Service Inc in Champaign.