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Illinois Still Can't Process FOID, Concealed Carry Applications On Time

(AP Photo/Philip Kamrass, File)

Despite promises of new staffers and a focus on clearing a massive backlog of applications, the Illinois State Police are still dragging their heels when it comes to processing Firearm Owner ID card and concealed carry applications. A new report this week shows that the average time to process a FOID card, which is required to own a firearm in the state, is 119 days. The delays for concealed carry applications are even longer, with the state police taking an average of 160 days to process the applications.

That’s a big problem, given that state law requires the Illinois State Police to process FOID card applications within 30 days (the state allows 90 days to process carry license applications submitted without fingerprints). In fact, the state police are already facing multiple lawsuits over the delays, with the Second Amendment Foundation recently filing a legal challenge to the backlog of concealed carry licenses to along with an earlier federal lawsuit over the FOID card delays.

Republican State Sen. Neil Anderson says it’s time for the legislature to act as well, and he’s filed a bill that would scrap the state’s FOID law entirely.

“It had its time in place, but now with instant federal background checks there’s simply no need for it. It’s a redundancy, it’s a cash grab for the state. And it’s obviously causing issues especially right now with the huge backlog,” he said.

Sen. Anderson has filed Senate Bill 1754, which would eliminate the roughly 50 year old system, every year since he was first elected to serve western Illinois.

“Taking this away doesn’t take away the process that people from every other state has to go through in the instant background check,” Sen. Anderson said.

Note that Anderson’s proposal isn’t new. Nor are the complaints about the FOID system, but with anti-gun Democrats in control of the legislature in Springfield, the proposals have gone nowhere in previous sessions. Sadly, the same outcome is likely for SB 1754, though Republicans are trying to get some Democrats to sign on.

Sen. Dale Fowler (R-Harrisburg) joined as a co-sponsor to the bill Wednesday in Springfield. Fowler hopes more Democrats join the bill to eliminate a program that creates unnecessary spending.

“When you’re duplicating background checks it just doesn’t make good economic sense. It’s an expense that the state of Illinois’ inquiring that it shouldn’t have to have,” Fowler said. “All we can do is continue to strive to get the bipartisan support that this action needs.”

While I appreciate and understand the economic argument, to me the more important issue is the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of Illinois residents who’ve been unable to exercise their right to keep and bear arms because the state can’t uphold its requirements under the law. A right delayed is a right denied, and it’s completely unacceptable that, while violent crime has been skyrocketing in Chicago, residents who want to legally obtain a firearm for self-defense are having to wait for months on end before they get their government-issued permission slip.

The criminals who are carjacking, robbing, and shooting victims with impunity aren’t applying for FOID cards or concealed carry licenses to begin with. In many cases, they’re not even old enough to legally own a gun, but that’s not stopping them from illicitly obtaining and using guns.

 15-year-old boy has been charged as one of three people who allegedly carjacked a ride-share driver in Roseland and led police on a chase into Indiana.

The teen faces one felony count of aggravated vehicular highjacking for his role in the March 6 incident, according to Chicago police.

He and two others allegedly carjacked a 44-year-old man at gunpoint in the 300 block of East 95th Street, police said.

Illinois’ gun control laws are preventing good people from protecting themselves, but they’re not doing a damn thing to stop teenagers from committing carjackings, which is happening with such frequency that the Chicago Tribune recently called the increasing incidents a plague in the city.

Every day that the Democrats in charge of the statehouse in Springfield avoid the issue, more people are put at risk. The callous indifference to those who want to protect themselves that’s so prevalent among the majority of lawmakers is aiding and abetting the criminals who love to prey on unarmed victims. Democrats have the power to fix this. They could get behind SB 1754 today and have the bill on Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s desk next week if they wanted. Instead, these lawmakers will continue to allow Illinois residents to twist in the wind and twiddle their thumbs while they wait for months on end for the state to give them the green light to exercise a fundamental civil right. Let’s hope the courts step in to protect the Second Amendment rights of these residents, and that they do so sooner rather than later. Every day means another delay, and more rights denied in the meantime.

Apr 15, 2021 2:30 PM ET