Should Illinois Gun Owners Be Fingerprinted?

May 21, 2019

Illinois lawmakers are considering whether to overhaul the application process for Firearm Owner’s Identification cards.

The plan would require legal gun owners to submit fingerprints at their own cost and create a database for law enforcement to see whose FOID cards have been revoked or suspended.

It comes after a man shot and killed five former coworkers and wounded responding police earlier this year in Aurora. It later came out his FOID card had already been revoked, but the state police never made sure he got rid of his guns.

The legislation would also raise the application fee from $10 to $50. The additional money would go to state police revocation efforts and school-based mental health services.

Republicans, like state Rep. Lindsay Parkhurst, from Kankakee, argue that’s an unfair cost.

“As a woman, my right to vote is protected by the constitution,” Parkhurst said. “If you told me that I had to pay for a voter ID and then for fingerprinting to make sure that there’s no voter fraud, I think everybody would find that constitutionally offensive and unconstitutional.”

Opponents of the legislation say it could cost FOID card holders nearly $200 over ten years, depending on the fees at their local fingerprinting station.

Some lawmakers — including Democrats — are concerned the plan could make legal gun ownership unaffordable for minority and low-income communities.

The measure has been approved in committee and is awaiting action by the full House.

The legislation is Senate Bill 1966.