IL Extends FOID, Concealed Carry Licenses During Coronavirus Closures

There’s a little bit of good news for Illinois gun owners today, as the Illinois State Police have announced that current Firearms Owner ID card holders and concealed carry licensees will have their permits extended for up to a year, as long as they submit their renewal applications.

According to the state police, the changes apply to all gun owners, even those who do not submit their renewals before they are set to expire. Here’s the language from the Illinois State Police:

  • FOID card holders who submit their renewal application will remain valid during the duration of the state’s disaster proclamation and for a period of 12 months following the termination of the disaster, even if their renewal application is/was not submitted prior to expiration.
  • CCL licensees who submit their renewal application, will remain valid during the duration of the state’s disaster proclamation and for a period of 12 months following its termination, even if their CCL renewal application was not submitted prior to expiration.
  • CCL licensees will not be required to immediately submit proof of three-hour training with their CCL renewal application.
  • CCL licensees will need to submit proof of their three-hour renewal training within 12 months following the termination of the state’s disaster proclamation in order to maintain the validity of their CCL license.

The changes were announced a few days after State Rep. Terri Bryant sent a letter to Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker urging him to extend deadlines for FOID card and CCL holders for three months.

“I appreciate your efforts to lead the State of Illinois during this unprecedented crisis. The people of Illinois are looking to their leaders to have their backs and ensure their security during this stressful time. Please, consider extending expiration dates for firearm owner identification cards and concealed carry licenses for 90 days to protect law-abiding citizens from wrongful arrest or prosecution,” stated Rep. Bryant in a letter to Gov. Pritzker.

In the letter, Bryant compared the extension of FOID and CCLs to a move made by the governor’s office in March to extend the expiration dates for Illinois driver’s licenses, ID cards, and vehicle registration amid the closure of Driver Services facilities.

It’s a smart move by the governor and the Illinois State Police to extend those deadlines even further than Rep. Bryant had asked, and I’m pleasantly surprised to see the changes.

Pritzker had previously declared gun stores in the state to be essential businesses that can continue to operate during the state’s “stay-at-home” order. As the Second Amendment Foundation’s Alan Gottlieb noted at the time, it’s a big deal for Pritzker to support the Second Amendment rights of residents, since the governor’s been a reliable voice for gun control since he’s been in office.

“When an anti-gun Democrat governor declares that essential businesses include firearm and ammunition suppliers and retailers for the purposes of safety and security, that is a really big deal,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “Every governor should copy the Illinois example when issuing ‘shelter-in-place’ and business closure orders in the face of the Coronavirus.”

“Depending upon how long this emergency continues,” Gottlieb observed, “many Americans may find themselves facing situations where they will need to be their own first responders. Gov. Pritzker obviously understands this, and we encourage the governors of all other states to recognize this isn’t an issue of party politics but of personal and community safety.”

With the additional changes announced by the Illinois State Police on Thursday, gun owners in the state don’t have to worry about not being able to purchase firearms or ammunition, or running afoul of the law if their FOID card or CCL expires during the coronavirus shutdown. Considering everything else we do have to be worried about at the moment, including a cratering economy and a rising number of deaths from the coronavirus, at least there’s some comfort for Illinois residents in knowing that their Second Amendment rights remain intact, though I’m still in favor of scrapping the state’s FOID card system entirely, and would love to see Illinois eventually embrace constitutional carry as well.