Activist Claims Illinois' "Fix The FOID" Act Can Solve Chicago's Violence

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Imagine if all it took to reduce the soaring number of shootings and homicides in Chicago was a little more gun control. It seems pretty silly, given that the vast majority of individuals committing violent crimes in the city aren’t legal gun owners to begin with, but Illinois gun control activist Kathleen Sances, who runs the Gun Violence Prevention PAC Illinois, swears that if Democrats in control of the statehouse in Springfield just pass one piece of legislation, things will start to turn around in the city.

That piece of legislation is cynically called the Fix the FOID Act, though it doesn’t offer much actual improvement to the fundamentally flawed law that requires all residents to obtain a Firearms Owner ID card before they can legally possess a firearm. Instead, it raises the fees for those hoping to exercise their Second Amendment rights, while treating them like criminals by making them provide fingerprints to the state police. According to Sances, however, not only would passage of the bill clear out the backlog of FOID applications that are forcing residents to wait months on end for their Second Amendment permission slip, it would cut down on the number of criminals carrying guns as well.

Before the weather gets warm and shooting numbers get worse, our elected officials in Springfield must do their most important job: keeping our kids safe. Firearms are the leading cause for children and teens in Illinois.

Our kids deserve a future, but so many are dying. And before spring ends, a critical deadline looms — on May 31, the current session comes to a close.

That’s why the time is now for lawmakers to act and pass the BIO and Fix the FOID bill.

Before summer comes.

Sances’ craven emotional appeal to think of the children aside, she really doesn’t present any argument whatsoever about how the new bill would crack down on those who illegally possess guns and use them in the commission of a crime. And if this bill were really the godsend to gun owners that she claims it is, then why have no Republicans signed on in support of the measure?

The truth is that the FOID card requirement in Illinois does far more to prevent the lawful exercise of the right to keep and bear arms than it does to stop a single violent crime from taking place. Criminals don’t care if they’re carrying a gun without a concealed carry license, so why would they care about possessing a gun without a FOID card? The stiffest sentence possible for violating the FOID Act is a year in jail, but if that’s the only charge that someone is facing, odds are that they’re going to be sentenced to probation and court supervision. That’s not much of a deterrence to those who would use a gun to commit an armed robbery or a carjacking.

Besides, a judge in Illinois recently declared that the FOID card requirement is unconstitutional, at least when it applies to firearms in the home. The Illinois State Supreme Court will soon have a chance to uphold or overturn that judge’s decision, and if they really want to provide the appropriate “fix” to the Firearms Owner ID card law, they’ll kill it off entirely.