Illinois FOID Delays Blocking Residents From Their 2A Rights

Photo Courtesy of the National Shooting Sports Foundation

Illinois’s Firearms Owner ID card law, which mandates that before residents can legally own a firearm they must apply for and receive a FOID card issued by the state police, is getting more criticism from Second Amendment advocates and some lawmakers after Chicago television station WLS recently covered the story of one woman who’s been waiting for almost a year for her card.

Even worse, when Koffie Brown’s FOID card finally did arrive in her mailbox, her picture wasn’t on the permit. Instead, it was a man Brown has never met.

She said she never thought it would take this long to receive her FOID card and now she’s wondering if she’ll have to wait another year for the state to get it right.

“I’m ready to purchase a firearm,” Brown said. “I waited a year.”

Brown said she applied for her FOID card in July 2020.

“I don’t understand why we have to go through all of this to be able to carry a gun. I don’t understand it,” she said.

There’s no good reason, other than the fact that the Democrats in charge in Illinois believe that you should have to apply for government permission before you exercise a fundamental civil right. Efforts by Republicans to scrap the FOID requirement completely failed in the legislature this year, and while the state Supreme Court is considering a challenge to the constitutionality of the FOID system, the law remains in effect for now.

Complaints have been rolling in about FOID cards and Concealed Carry Licenses for more than a year. Dozens of people across the state said they’ve been waiting for their firearm credentials for months, and can’t get ahold of anyone from the state to get answers.

Brown said the whole experience left her very frustrated.

“I’m still in limbo waiting on this card. I already took my concealed carry class, but I can’t apply for that until I have my FOID card so I’m still stuck,” she said.

She’s not alone. The Illinois State Police haven’t been able to process FOID and concealed carry applications in a timely manner for a couple of years now, but the backlog has grown exponentially worse since last March. The ISP says, however, that they’re slowly making progress in processing applications.

As for the FOID card and CCL delays, ISP said, “New FOID backlog has decreased by 18% and renewal backlog has decreased by 38% since March 2020, which can be attributed in part to more hiring and technological advances.”

New FOID applications are taking the state almost five months to process, and FOID card renewals are taking just over six months according to ISP’s website.

Brown said she still hasn’t gotten her corrected FOID card.

“Get it together,” she said. “It should not take this long to apply for a FOID card. Hire people. Do what you need to do. You should not have a citizen waiting a year.”

Thanks to the bureaucratic failures in Illinois, Brown and thousands of other residents are being forced to undergo a months-long waiting period before they can purchase a firearm, and while the state police claim they’re making progress, it’s still taking almost five times longer than the 30 days mandated under state law. If the state of Illinois can’t abide by the law requiring FOID applications to be processed in that 30 day time period (and clearly the state can’t or won’t), then the entire system needs to be scrapped. Would-be legal gun owners like Koffie Brown shouldn’t be left defenseless because of the inaction and ineptitude of the state, but that’s exactly what’s happening at the moment.