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Illinois Lawmakers Frustrated Over FOID Delays

screen capture from the Illinois State Police Firearm Services Bureau website
illustration by Brian Mackey
Illinois State Police Firearm Services Bureau
The website of the Illinois State Police Firearm Services Bureau explains how much time it has to process FOID renewals and applications. Republican legislators say the agency is not meeting those requirements.

A group of Republican lawmakers is criticizing the state for failing to process FOID card renewals in a timely manner.

The legislators said the Illinois State Police, which oversees Firearm Owners Identification cards, has mismanaged both processing new applications and renewing current ones.

State Rep. Mike Marron, a Republican from Fithian, said the delays are infringing on Second Amendment rights.

“You’re taking law-abiding citizens who are trying to exercise their constitutional right to bear arms, and you’re creating a problem for them being compliant with the state law,” Marron said.

Some Democrats want to make the system more strict by requiring fingerprints. But Marron said he thinks that would only worsen delays.

“By creating a backlog, you’ve got all these applications that aren’t being processed, I think you’re setting the system up for failure,” Marron said. “I think you’re almost guaranteeing that it’s not gonna work appropriately. That’s scary to me.”

The renewal process for FOID applications has been backlogged for years, which led gun rights groups to bring a lawsuit against the state police in January.

Republicans are backing several bills they say would address the issue. They includes legislation that would let people submit renewals earlier, up to six months before expiration, so their cards are less likely to expire while waiting on the state police.

Others have filed legislation to eliminate FOID cards, though they acknowledge that’s unlikely, given the Democratic supermajorities in the Illinois General Assembly.

Mike Smith is a graduate Public Affairs Reporting intern for the spring 2020 legislative session.
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