Illinois Retail Merchants Association Sells Out Small Gun Retailers for FFL Licensing Carve-Out

Retail Merchants IRMA Big Box carve out

By now you’re heard about the now-defunct Illinois Firearms Manufacturers Association, solely owned and operated by Springfield Armory and Rock River Arms. IFMA dropped their opposition to the bill in exchange for a carve-out for gunmakers. Les we forget . . .

the Illinois Retail Merchants Association (IRMA) also went neutral in exchange for their own carve-out for big box stores.  That’s right: IRMA took no position to the bill after it was amended to exclude stores generating less than 20 percent of their sales in firearms.

Who is IRMA? From the IRMA website’s homepage:

IRMA is your statewide professional organization. No matter what your size or kind of store, IRMA can help protect your interests in state government, save you money, and keep you informed.

I contacted Tanya Triche Dawood, the Vice-President and General Counsel for IRMA. She said IRMA’s membership list is confidential. I’ve been unable to find an independent source to identify IRMA members. If any TTAG readers have access to this information, please email thetruthaboutguns@gmail.com.

Ms. Dawood admitted that IRMA had no smaller gun stores as members and that IRMA negotiated that exemption for their big-box store members. With that exemption in place, IRMA filed their “no position” witness slip on the gun dealer licensing bill.

If signed into law, this bill will throw almost all Illinois retail gun dealers under the bus. Well, except for the big box retailers, including members of Ms. Dawood’s organization.

While IRMA claims to represent retailers no matter the size, clearly some retailers are more equal than others among their client/member base.

This serves as one more reason to do business with your local gun shop whenever possible. The couple of extra bucks you may spend will pay big dividends in the long run.

comments

  1. avatar Pwrserge says:

    Sounds like every gun store in the state needs to incorporate with a liquor store and a tobacco store. That way I could get all my shopping done in one simple location and they can avoid the silliness of state licensing on gun sales.

    1. avatar strych9 says:

      Adding in dancing moms/students couldn’t hurt either. Your average strip joint makes about $1 million a year in profit.

      Titties, beer, guns and ammo all in one location. JWM would be broke just based on the titties and guns.

      1. avatar Ralph says:

        You had me at “beer.”

      2. avatar Geoff PR says:

        JWM won’t have time to go broke, he’ll be too busy washing, waxing and driving the corporate limos for the coke dealers to move their hookers around…

        1. avatar jwm says:

          Actually……..

      3. avatar jwm says:

        That’s why you spend a lifetime working and saving. And then you marry money. It’ll take more than that to make me go broke. Sides, I ain’t bought a gun in 3 years. Self control, I got it.

        1. avatar Nick says:

          3 years! HFS! I can hardly go three months.

    2. avatar No one of consequence says:

      I’ve always thought ATF should be a convenience store, not an agency…

    3. avatar great unknown says:

      “‘Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms’ should be the name of a convenience store, not a government agency.”

  2. avatar Stoney Man says:

    Hire American, Buy American, and shop local.

  3. avatar Ed says:

    I was thinking the same thing..
    I would open a firearms, soda and candy shop. I could 81% candy to 19% guns and let $100 bucks worth of candy rot on the shelf and keep the one soda fridge I have stocked for all I care. By volume for every 81 fireballs in a jar on a counter I could have 19 firearms. Problem solved.
    Opening soon Springfudds Candy and Guns!

    1. avatar Wyvern says:

      That’s not how it works. It goes by dollars worth of product sold, not items in inventory. Using your example, you would have to sell $81 of candy for every $19 of firearms.

      1. avatar Nanashi says:

        Sell overpriced candy (699 for a bag of smarties) and give “free” guns with purchase.

        1. avatar strych9 says:

          Genius.

        2. avatar Ed says:

          Yep, perfect. Silly boy, loopholes arn’t just for gunshows…lmao!

        3. avatar Joel says:

          This is the best piece of thinking since the fellow(s) who came up with the workarounds for California’s fixed magazine rule in an AR. (The bullet button, Patriot Mag Release, and the Mean Arms Loader Device.)

          Simple and brilliant.

  4. avatar strych9 says:

    Dirty dealings in a den of thieves (the legislature)!? I am shocked! Shocked and appalled I tell you!

  5. avatar The Duke says:

    The couple extra bucks I pay at my LGS? I don’t know about the rest of you but my LGS usually saves me around $40 over the likes of Cabelas, Academy and the like

    “While IRMA claims to represent retailers no matter the size, clearly some retailers are more equal than others among their client/member base.”

    What did you expect? Some retailers pay more to ensure their interests are seen as superior in the eyes of the IRMA,

    1. avatar Ed says:

      Plus, Cabellas, Dicks and all the box stores don’t do transfers of special orders. So, theres that loss as well.

      1. avatar Gunrunner says:

        I’ve shipped plenty of customer transfers to Cabelas, Gander, Bass Pro, etc.. I usually recommend people shop around and use an independent LGS, but it’s up to them. It can be tougher to get the big boxes to cough up their FFL and they’re not usually the cheapest for the customer, but most do take in transfers.

        1. avatar Rokurota says:

          Gander’s a joke, so now they’re broke. Everything’s 40% off at the GM near me, so now their prices are in line with everyone else’s.

      2. avatar The Duke says:

        Exactly, my LGS has better prices, selection and customer service everything I expect a store to be. And if they don’t have it they will get it and still give me their usual pricing

        There’s literally no reason for me to buy from a box store unless there’s not a LGS in town (or within an hour drive). Maybe that is IRMAs intent, screw the small shops out of business and “encourage” everyone into their box stores

  6. avatar Ralph says:

    According to some approving comments, capitalism is a philosophy that says it’s really great to make the rope used for lynchings as long as there’s a profit in it.

    By that definition, MS-13 is a fine example of an arch capitalist. I strongly disagree.

    The sine qua non of capitalism is competition. Destroying competition through government action (IRMA) or murder (MS-13) are as anti-capitalist as it gets.

    IRMA just lynched the smaller FFLs. Now, it’s time for the big box supporters of the IL legislation to get their own necks stretched. Metaphorically speaking.

    1. avatar strych9 says:

      Ralph, I really rather prefer your normal self to this new, rational, logical and sane version.

      OTOH, it’s really not exactly the way you state it. The government was going to screw all of them, those with means used legal means to avoid getting screwed. So it’s kind of like they let the other guys hang out to dry and avoided it themselves.

      They could have joined the other guys on the gallows out of some sense of honor, but a big part of capitalism is making money, and as a business they can’t justify that kind of moral stance to their creditors and shareholders when it affects to the bottom line in a significant way.

      As I said elsewhere, being involved in the firearms industry in a blue state is like walking back and forth through a minefield. Eventually, no matter how careful you are, you’re going to step on something you wish you didn’t.

      1. avatar Ralph says:

        “I really rather prefer your normal self to this new, rational, logical and sane version.”

        Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue.

        — Airplane

        1. avatar strych9 says:

          Surely you can’t be serious!

          Or did you just quit airplane glue?

      2. avatar Nick says:

        What happened to that whole “equal protection under the law” thing. I guess by now it’s long gone.

        It shouldn’t matter. Any law that discriminates against a business because of its size is unconstitutional. Targeting small shops with onerous regulation while allowing the companies that can actually afford such regulation to skate free is nonsensical.

        But then again, it was liberals who came up with the idea, and in their twisted mind it makes sense I guess.

    2. avatar The Gray Poseur says:

      Ralph, in all seriousness, I haven’t seen any “approving” comments regarding the sausage making business. The least negative I have seen are simply, “No shit, that’s how sausage is made, especially in blue states. We can’t change it, so deal with it accordingly”.

  7. avatar A-Aargh15 says:

    yet another reason to avoid the BigBox retailers.

    After all, they are run by soulless fascist beancounters. They are the first ones to take the guns & ammo off the shelves after yet another Mohammedan Terrorist attack instead of sticking up for our 2A Rights. DICK’s , Aca-dummy….the list goes on and on.

    Same goes for large mfgrs like Under-Armpit – they dropped a hunting sponsorship and caved to 4,000 whiny Special Snowflakes last year (people who would never buy their overpriced shitty “performance sportswear” anyway) and they totally lost the loyalty & sales of the millions of hunters & fishermen who were supporting their outdoor line of overpriced shitty camouflage clothing.

  8. Is it even legal to do this? Why didn’t the big three automakers have a law passed back in the early 1980’s that any auto maker that sold less than 5 million cars a year had to pay some huge tax and be regulated out of existence?

    1. avatar million says:

      equal protection of economic liberty has not existed since the New Deal.

      1. avatar million says:

        strike that. economic liberty was effectively killed in 1873 with The Slaughter-House Cases decision that gutted any notion that the 14th Amendment’s privileges and immunities clause included protection of economic liberty.

    2. avatar Ed says:

      Because it was easier to buy up the brand and shelf it or kill it off…and they had the money to do it. I wish AMC was still a thing. I had a 72 Javelin that was the SHIT! I sold it because some parts were almost impossible to source or rediculously priced…sad, because that car had more class and balls than any mustang I ever came across

      1. avatar Nick says:

        Reminds me of how the oilfield works. As soon as some startup gets too much market share, they get gobbled up by one of the bigger companies to eliminate the competition. The weird thing is, if you work for a startup that gets bought, usually very little changes other than the name on your shirt and paycheck.

        The big companies themselves aren’t even immune. Halliburton (#2 in market) tried to buy Baker Hughes (#3). The only thing that stopped it was anti-trust laws.

  9. avatar Jason says:

    I would draw the line where you report on people reporting on your reporting.

    I get that ttag makes more clicks/money by dribbling out details, even though that is a lot harder on the subjects of the reporting, and is the modern media definition of how to destroy someone’s reputation.

    But echoing the echo is how you make an echo chamber, and you need to be better than that.

  10. avatar Ivar The Forkbeard says:

    Dicks is a member I dug that out of their FB pictures.

    McDonalds, Aldi, Hot Topic, home Depot as well

  11. avatar Kyle says:

    Really disappointed with Springfield. They need to make this right.

  12. avatar FedUp says:

    Not so much a sell-out, as it is an “exempt our members who wouldn’t notice a $5k fee, but assess it upon our competitors who can’t afford to pay it”.

    Unlike the firearms manufacturers, the big box FFLs have everything to gain from the elimination of the LGS, so this bill is a gift to them in its present form.

    No point in trying to shame them for enlisting the mafia, I mean government, in providing them with anti competitive ‘protection’.

  13. avatar former water walker says:

    JUST bought a gun TODAY at Blythe’s in Griffith,IN. Transferred to Illinois. If this BS is passed I may lose my cheap transfer. I’ll be DAMNED if I’ll buy from a Big box Illinois store!

  14. avatar Jim says:

    So let me get this straight – people are pissed that the Illinois Retail Merchant Association didn’t do anything to protect businesses that are not members?

    Really? Now, don’t get me wrong – this proposed law sucks and should be fought tooth and nail, but getting angry at IRMA because they did not protect the interests of non-members is like getting pissed at the United Food and Commercial Workers union because they did not try and protect someone who refused to join.

    I don’t know what it costs, but I’m sure that like most state lobbying groups, they have somewhat of a sliding scale as to membership fees based on the size of the member. Unless it’s prohibitively expensive, I think that some ire might be more properly directed at the local gun shops who made the business decision not to join. Seems to me that if you operate a business in a state whose politicians hate what you sell, you might be well advised to join as many lobbying organizations that you can to protect your livelihood.

    Don’t go trying to compare this with what the IMFA pulled. That group was specifically intended to protect the gun industry. The IRMA is not that specific and they also didn’t come out in favor of the bill. They simply didn’t oppose it. It makes sense not to spend your political capital on things that don’t benefit your members.

  15. avatar Sam I Am says:

    “It’s not personal. It’s just business.”

    Badda bingm badda boom.

  16. avatar Jeff Warner says:

    I feel for those in Illinois! I live in California, and each day, get more upset over the illegal gun grads being conducted here, waiting for the SCOTUS to overrule them! It is a war, with numerous organizations sueing to get these laws overturned, while new laws keep coming out. We have been told they are not building a gun registration list, but new laws require we do just that, register them! Even 80% weapons are required to be issued a serial number and registered!
    I always hoped the gun manufacturers would be on our side, but they just turn their backs and lie about their actions! I was in the market for a Saint, but in California, they are not legal for sale, since they have removable magazines, they have pistol style grips, and the magazines portrude below the trigger guard.
    From what I have read, SA is still trying to cover up their mistakes, but I will be one to never buy a product from them because of their two faced lies! Never bought anything from RRA and never will. Bankruptcy seems the best thing for both. As for the big box stores, I do not shop at most! WalMart doesn’t sell guns in California, leaving only Bass Pro, or the independent stores! Dicks is gone, with only Turners left, and they aren’t big. Since “assault style weapons” are outlawed, they don’t sell AR’s, AK’s or any weapon that they claim is mean looking!
    Keep fighting, since they are doing everything they can to stop and overturn the 2A. New York, California, Illinois are all attempting to destroy our rights, and daily pass rules or laws that “infringe” on our rights!
    Here, they want to ban gun stores! They also want to separate ammo from gun stores, so you have to go to two separate stores to purchase either. They passed a law that requires a background check to purchase ammo, meaning another fee, doubling the cost of ammo. Ten day waiting period to buy a gun or ammo!
    Yet the criminal use of guns by those who will never register their weapons, continues!
    Illinois seems to be watching what is going on in other states, and doing the same! California is presently working on a law to prohibit gun stores in the state!

  17. avatar Chris T in KY says:

    Gun hating states will make slaves of their residences. And gun companies in those states will help them. This makes Massachusetts next on the hit parade. Spring field armory is there.

    Gun companies have left California, Maryland, Colorado. I’m sure its very costly to leave. But the millions of gun voters in these states couldn’t get their act together and vote out these evil elements.

  18. avatar FedUp says:

    I wish it was possible to recall a state Senator in Illinois.

    Circulating recall election petitions against Senators who voted to force legitimate and heavily regulated small businesses out of existence would provide a nice object lesson for Representatives who are about to vote on the bill.

  19. avatar Scoutino says:

    Weird thing – it says 4 entities didn’t oppose the bill, but for some reason John shows us just 3 lines. Let’s click through….yes, here is the fourth :

    JP McLaughlin Illinois Tactical Firearms Training Institute, Inc.

    What gives?

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