Opening any business in Illinois requires establishing and registering a business name and obtaining the necessary licenses. Opening a gun store requires additional steps. You must pass a background check to obtain a Federal Firearms License. The Gun Control Act of 1968 requires anyone selling guns on a regular basis to obtain this license, issued by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
Go to www.atf.gov to apply for a Federal Firearms License (FFL). Submit the application to the address located on the form. The ATF will perform a background check and approve or deny your application. An FFL is required to operate a gun shop in all 50 states; obtain this license before proceeding with additional steps to open your gun shop in Illinois.
Visit your local Illinois county clerk's office to register your business name. Go to idph.state.il.us to view a list of Illinois county clerk's offices closest to you.
Register your business through your local Illinois Department of Revenue office (IDOR). Visit www.tax.Illinois.gov for an office near you. You will be advised of any additional licenses you may need depending on the location of your gun store or Illinois law. You will be required to obtain a sales tax license, and can do this at your local IDOR.
Visit www.IRS.gov to apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN). Enter your business information and submit. You will be issued an EIN immediately. Use this number to apply for business financing or to open accounts with gun wholesalers to purchase supplies.
Meet with a local Illinois insurance agent. Select an agent who has knowledge of and experience in offering business insurance to gun stores. You will need, at a minimum, insurance covering your store stock as well as liability coverage.
Check zoning laws in Illinois. Gun stores may be prohibited from certain areas. Find a location where you can open your gun store legally. Be careful when considering a location. Opening a gun store near day care centers, churches or schools can create hostility within the community. Attempt to negotiate the installation of a security system into your lease to protect the store and weapons inside.
Place help-wanted ads in local newspapers and online help-wanted sites. Spread the word verbally that you are hiring staff. Attempt to find staff with a mixture of gun knowledge, good customer service skills and a history of reliable employment. Run background checks on all staff members. An Illinois gun store is required to follow the law in selling guns. You, as the owner, will be responsible for training staff and ensuring all laws are followed.
Purchase items you will sell in your store and begin to promote your shop. Find local Illinois groups of people who are interested in guns and send notices or ask to speak at an upcoming meeting. The more you can spread the word about your shop, the more likely customers will come come and visit.
Create a website listing, at a minimum, operating hours, contact information and the type of items sold at your shop. Consider adding links to Illinois gun laws and gun-license applications. As your business gets more established, add the option of allowing people to shop for unregulated supplies online. This requires you to offer a shipping service but can increase your sales.
Treat all customers with kindness, respect and honesty. Satisfied customers spread positive word and become repeat customers.
- a gun image by timur1970 from Fotolia.com