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Norridge gunshop owner says he’s being targeted by village

The owner Ghost Industries gun shop 7601 W. Montrose Norridge is suing village for restrictions put his business. | Dan

The owner of Ghost Industries, a gun shop at 7601 W. Montrose in Norridge, is suing the village for the restrictions put on his business. | Dan Luedert~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: September 30, 2011 12:24AM

Norridge gun shop owner Tony Kole says he’s open for business — but customers are having a hard time finding him.

And for that he’s suing the northwest suburb, which he says is preventing him from putting a sign on his business.

“He sometimes can’t take delivery of his mail because he’s prevented from posting the name of his business,” said Kole’s lawyer, Walter Maksym.

“It’s ridiculous and unconstitutional and infringes on his First Amendment rights if he can’t advertise or identify his business.”

Kole’s federal suit against Norridge says his company, Ghost Industries, applied for the necessary permits to open a weapons dealership in the suburb in early 2011, after a U.S. Supreme Court 5-4 ruling that stated individuals’ rights to bear arms applied to state and local gun control laws.

“Without legal authority and in violation of the Constitution, my client, a federally licensed firearms dealer, was delayed by the village when he initially applied for a weapons dealers business license in Norridge,” Maksym said.

“When village officials realized they couldn’t stop him from obtaining a gun dealer’s license, they arbitrarily imposed more restrictions on him without any legal basis.”

After failing to keep Kole from opening, Maksym said, his client was restricted by the village from advertising.

“These restrictions were not in the original ordinance so they changed the ordinance,” said Maksym.

According to court documents, the suit alleges village officials eventually agreed to grant the license, but only if Kole signed an agreement with “severe restrictions regarding the volume of business Ghost Industries could do,” and that he could not receive, deliver or store weapons on the premises, in addition to not be able to advertise.

The amended weapons ordinance also states the board wants to set the number of available weapons dealer licenses to one, terminate that category of business license no later than April 30, 2013, and that the current weapons dealer agreed to cease doing business in the village no later than April 30, 2013.

Maksym said his client never agreed that he would stop doing business in 2013.

Mark Chester, attorney for Norridge, declined to comment.

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