Gun retailers reserve right to deny purchases


MT. ZION -- The shooting in Colorado is raising questions about buying guns, and local dealers are being more careful than ever.

Gun retailer Jerry Bates says many times, it's all about the gut feeling when someone comes inside his gun shop. But legally, he says, getting a gun isn't as easy as one may think.

Bates says his shop, Jerry's Sports in Mt. Zion, follows some strict rules. But it's not just how they run things here -- it's the law.

Potential gun buyers must have a FOID card. Illinois State Police then review applications with a background check. Currently, the wait for a FOID card is up to 55 days.

But what about buying online? Federal ATF agent Tom Ahern says online retailers are required to follow certain procedures.

"It works the same way if the person went into a gun shop and purchased it directly from a licensed dealer," Ahern said. But the retailer legally can't ship directly to someone's door.

According to Ahern, anyone's firearm or ammunition online order will be sent to a federally licensed dealer -- like Jerry's Sports.

But someone can't just walk in and out of the store with a pistol, Bates said. They check you out in-store, too. Bates says there is a waiting period, depending on what you buy, before taking anything out the door.

At Jerry's, Bates says he reserves the right to deny purchases from anyone he finds to be suspicious. That's because any crime committed with one of his guns gets traced back to his store.

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