Gun License Delays Put Illinois Residents at Risk

Gun License Delays Put Illinois Residents at Risk
(AP Photo/Philip Kamrass, File)

It should come as no surprise that almost no effort is spared in Illinois to keep people from exercising their Second Amendment Rights.

In the middle of a spate of carjackings in Chicago, residents who applied for a Firearms Owner Identification Card or a concealed carry license months ago are still waiting — never mind someone who might have applied recently in hopes of defending themselves from the carjackers or or any of the other myriad threats in the city.

Chicago saw a 183% rise in carjackings in just the first month of 2021, WTTW, of Chicago, reports.

Meanwhile, the number of carjackings through the first month of 2021 exploded with 218 vehicular hijackings reported, compared to 77 in January 2020, according to CPD data. 

Not only that, but homicides are up nearly 50% as well

According to Chicago Police Department data released Monday, the 51 homicides recorded last month mark a 46% jump over the same month last year and the city’s highest total for any January since 2017, when there were 52.

Only three Januarys (2016, 2017, 2021) have topped 50 homicides since 2000, department data shows. Throughout last month, there were also 201 shooting incidents and 241 shooting victims.

In the midst of this, people are telling ABC7, of Chicago, they can’t even get a replacement for a lost license — which is needed to even buy ammunition (when it can even be found), let alone a new one.

“I feel extremely unsafe every time I walk out of my house,” Terrence Thrower told the news station.

Thrower said he lost his wallet last year, which contained his Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) card, as well as his concealed carry license (CCL).

He thought applying for replacements would be easy, but more than eight months later he said he’s still waiting. As a result, he’s unable to legally carry or use his firearm.

“It’s scary, because I feel like I can’t protect myself or my family,” he said. “My wife and I, we have a newborn baby. With such a high rise in carjackings, I feel like I can’t leave the house without my firearm and feel safe.”

In Illinois, requests for firearms credentials are handled by the state police, and are supposed to arrive within 30 to 60 days, however, ABC7 reports that one David Howley, of Arlington Heights applied for his card in July of last year.

“So as of today, that would be 191 days and 156 work days,” he said. “It’s gotten to the point of almost being ridiculous, the length of time.”

The Illinois State Police are saying — along with Democratic Governor J.B. Pritzker — that a combination of skyrocketing applications (why a license just to buy ammunition, let alone a firearm, is Constitutional at all, is unclear) and budgetary issues is to blame.

In June of 2019, the state received 25,359 FOID card applications. One year later the state had received 62,823 applications — a 148% increase.

Prtizker said that his predecessor, Republican Bruce Rauner, depleted the firearms service funds for other priorities and made no plans to replenish funding or expand staffing, telling the TV station that he would quit “sweeping” the funds.

It’s ironic, to say the least, that a Republican governor would make it more difficult for his constituents to exercise their constitutional rights, while a Democrat is moving to make it easier.

A simpler remedy, of course, would be to simply eliminate the constitutionally dubious FOID cards entirely, something Illinois Republicans would like to do, but concede is unlikely at best.

As NBC affiliate 25News reported late last year:

Rep. CD Davidsmeyer (R-Jacksonville) feels the Second Amendment is a lot like the First Amendment. He says legal, safe gun owners shouldn’t have their rights taken away if others don’t want guns.

“That’s where the difference of opinion is. You’ve got one side that wants to pretend like that right doesn’t exist,” Davidsmeyer explained. “And you’ve got our side who wants to fight for and make sure that we protect those freedoms.”

While Republicans aim to eliminate the FOID program, they know it’s highly unlikely the Democratic supermajority would let that happen.

“The legislature should immediately pass reforms to ensure Illinoisans can exercise their Second Amendment rights without unnecessary delays in the FOID and concealed carry card process,” said Rep. Patrick Windhorst (R-Metropolis). “Let’s get to work in Springfield to address these delays and provide appropriate service to our citizens.”

In the meantime, people have waited as much as a year for a government authorization to exercise a Constitutional right.