Illinois lawmakers are currently considering legislation to overhaul the state’s FOID (Firearm Owner Identification) card licensing process.
Advocates for the bills, known as House Amendment 1 to Senate Bill 1966, argue that the changes are needed to fix “gaps” within the current system.
“I think this is realistic reform that many people can get behind. We are trying to fix the gaps in the FOID to make sure people with violent criminal histories cannot have firearms,” said Laura Singer of the Gun Violence Prevention PAC in an interview with CBS Chicago.
Supporters pointed to the shooting at the Henry Pratt Company in Aurora that left six people dead, including the killer, and six others wounded. The perpetrator’s FOID card had been revoked but police were never instructed to confiscate his firearms.
“We are going to give the state police the authority and the ability to take care of that,” Illinois State Rep. Kathleen Willis(D- Addison), the sponsor of the bill, told ABC 7.
In an investigative report, The Chicago Tribune estimated that 27,000 residents have had their FOID cards revoked since 2015 but have not disclosed to authorities what they did with their firearms.
By law, anyone who receives a revocation notice must turn over to law enforcement a detailed report of the make, model and serial number of each firearm they own, the location where the firearms will be kept during the revocation period and transferee information if a firearm or firearms are to be sent or sold to another FOID card holder.
Failure to do so could result in confiscation. But in the case of the Aurora workplace shooting, law enforcement did not follow-up, as gun shop owner Dan Eldridge told ABC 7.
“The tools are there for law enforcement and the criminal justice system could have stopped and they failed to do that,” said Eldridge, who added that the addition red tape proposed by the legislation is “an enormous waste of scarce precious law enforcement resources to no meaningful end.”
The NRA-ILA did a complete breakdown of all the incremental infringements of the FOID card reform bills:
- Criminalize private transfers, with violations being punished as a Class 4 felony.
- Require the recipient of a firearm gifted by a family member to call into Illinois State Police within 60 days to run a background check on themselves, even though they must already hold a FOID.
- Allow for the indefinite delay of firearm transfers. Currently, federal law allows a licensed firearm dealer (FFL) to release a firearm after three business days if they have not received any additional correspondence after receiving a “delay” when conducting the initial background check for a firearm transfer. This safeguard prevents the potential shutdown of sales via endless delays and allows law-abiding individuals to take possession of a firearm in a timely manner.
- Mandate FOID applicants submit fingerprints, including for renewals, which would not add anything of investigative value.
- Increase FOID processing time from one calendar month to thirty business days, which can span more than six weeks.
- Reduce the duration of the FOID from ten years to five while also increasing the application fee from $10 to $50, resulting in a 1000% increase in the cost to maintain a FOID for the same amount of time.
- Require FOID applicants pay all costs for fingerprinting and processing the background check, totaling around $150 on top of the application fee.
- Allow courts to direct law-enforcement to seize firearms from those who have their FOID revoked.
- Prohibit those with a revoked FOID from transferring firearms to someone in the same household, which would create confusion in determining the owner of the firearms and would take away the right to self-defense from individuals due to the alleged actions of someone else in their household.
- Require the owner of the seized firearms to petition the court to have them transferred to a third party.
A House committee has already voted to approve the changes but no further legislative action has been scheduled. Nevertheless, now is the time to take action against this FOID card reform! Click here to contact local lawmakers, urge them to oppose House Amendment 1 to SB 1966.