When I first wrote about Illinois State Rep. Curtis Tarver facing criminal charges for carrying a firearm after his concealed carry license was revoked, I said I wanted to reserve judgment until Tarver had given his side of the story. Well, now the lawmaker has issued a statement, and is blaming a clerical error with the Chicago Police Department for the revocation.
In his statement, Tarver said the arrest was the result of a “clerical error,” and that Chicago police records did not reflect the current status of his concealed carry license.
Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said the department was looking into the case, and that the problem is “likely a paperwork issue.”
Tarver said he renewed his expired Firearms Owners Identification Card this summer, and that he expected his CCL to renew along with the FOID, according to the statement.
You can read Tarver’s entire statement here, but according to the Chicago Sun-Times, Tarver may not be off the hook so easily, thanks to Illinois’ bureaucratic gun licensing laws.
“In order to reactivate the CCL due to an expired FOID, the person should submit a Request for Concealed Carry License Review form, which should be received with their notice of revocation,” state police said in an email. “It does not automatically become valid once the FOID is valid/renewed.”
In other words, what Carver thought would be common sense isn’t the law in Illinois. The Firearms Owner ID card every gun owner is required to possess to legally own firearms and ammunition is a prerequisite for a concealed carry license, but just because you renew one doesn’t mean the other renews as well.
This is a misdemeanor offense that Carver’s facing, and it’s highly unlikely he’d spend any time behind bars even if prosecutors decide to pursue the case and obtain a conviction. Still, it’s disheartening to me to see that the representative is still talking about how he’s going to be pushing for more control laws, rather than take on the ridiculous licensing system in place in the state.
Like many people in Chicago, I applied for a concealed carry license in order to keep myself and my daughter safe. I take considerable efforts to ensure that I am always in compliance with our state’s laws and following safe practices for handling a firearm. This commitment to stronger gun laws that promote responsible ownership is why I recently voted for the Fix the FOID Act, which cracks down on illegal gun sales, strengthens background checks and closes unnecessary loopholes. I look forward to continuing this work on behalf of our community and focusing efforts to prevent guns from getting into the wrong hands.
Rather than trying to “fix” the FOID system, Carver should hop on board the effort to scrap the system entirely. It’s already so broken that gun owners are having to wait months to renew their FOID card, and despite promises by the Illinois State Police to speed up the process, the changes have yet to materialize. Unfortunately, even after getting caught up in the web of red tape that make up Illinois’ gun control laws, Carver seems more interested in adding to the bureaucracy instead of taking on the broken, bloated bureaucracy.