The state of Illinois does something I really don’t understand, and that’s the requirement for a Firearms Owner Identification Card or FOID card. In theory, I understand it’s required to make sure people are still eligible to own firearms, but I just don’t see how lawmakers figured it would actually work.
Criminals won’t get one, and they haven’t. The people who will are generally not the people you need to worry about, though there are exceptions.
Frankly, I don’t see how lawmakers ever thought it would work.
Now, though, the process is being challenged. A lawsuit seeks to overturn the FOID requirement, but things aren’t looking great so far.
A three-judge panel denied a request from a gun-rights group for an emergency suspension of Illinois’ Firearm Owners’ Identification card law.
The Fourth District Appellate Court ruled Tuesday that Guns Save Life, an Illinois-based organization that advocates for Second Amendment rights, didn’t prove the need for a temporary stay on the state’s FOID card program, but did appear to approve of other aspects of the challenge.
In a complaint filed against Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul and Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly in May, Guns Save Life said that the state’s fee to apply for or renew a FOID card “places a tax upon the free exercise of a constitutional right and is violative of the Second Amendment as well as the Fourteenth Amendment.”
The court denied the request to have the program suspended until the case is settled. It said upending the long-standing law would hurt the state, regardless of the rights of the plaintiffs.
“Although maintaining the status quo could arguably further the irreparable injury to plaintiff’s members, granting the preliminary injunction could similarly cause irreparable injury to the State of Illinois because it would no longer have the means to identify people unqualified to possess firearms or ammunition, and it has no alternative means to do so. In effect, this would upset the status quo by nullifying a statute that has been in effect since 1968,” the court wrote in the ruling.
The ruling was disappointing but understandable, Guns Save Life Executive Director John Boch said.
The downside for Boch and company is that preliminary injunctions seem like a decent bellwether to see which way the judges may be leaning. While this doesn’t mean the entire case is doomed–far from it–it doesn’t give Illinois residents a pile of reasons to get excited, either.
Hopefully, this is just a “better safe than sorry” kind of decision and, in the end, the FOID dies. Frankly, Boch’s argument that it places a tax upon the exercise of a constitutional right is spot on and is the kind of argument that I hope will sway the judges. I’d personally compare it to a poll tax as that, too, sought to tax people seeking to exercise a constitutional right.
The fact is that the FOID doesn’t work as advertised, it’s had problems in the past of the website for the program not even working recently, and yeah, it’s a tax on a constitutionally-protected right. May it go down in flames.