Chicagoans fearful of crime can’t get FOID cards

(The Center Square) – With the clock ticking on the Illinois Legislature’s spring session, there doesn’t seem to be any movement on addressing the persistent backlog of Firearm Owner Identification card applications.

Tens of thousands of Illinoisans have been waiting months, if not more than year, to have their FOID card renewal applications processed. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Illinois State Police have extended the deadline for current FOID cardholders in getting their renewal.

State Rep. Dan Caulkins, R-Decatur said it’s not just current FOID cardholders that are waiting months to get their cards renewed.

“Yesterday, I had an inquiry from a gentleman who had a new application eleven months ago and it hasn’t been processed,” Caulkins said.

“It’s taking far too long to be able to receive one,” said state Rep. Curtis Tarver, D-Chicago. “Everybody is frustrated … They’re very alarmed about the spike in crime in Chicago in particular and they want the ability to arm themselves and protect themselves.”

Tarver said the FOID delay is one of the top three issues that we have people reach out about, “and I’m on the southside of Chicago so it’s not a rural Illinois thing.”

ISP Director Brendan Kelly said it has been a challenge.

“That is the biggest challenge that we have in front of us and I think we’ve spoken about this numerous times and we do have a legal and constitutional obligation,” Kelly said.

He urged lawmakers to streamline things with legislation, but there’s not been any movement on such a measure and the session ends May 31.

While Tarver said he hopes there’s a legislative fix to address the persistent delays, the session wraps up on May 31. Caulkins said a legislative fix doesn’t take away a dozen lawsuits against the state’s gun laws.

State Sen. Neil Anderson, R-Andalusia, said there’s a simple fix: “Run my repeal the FOID card legislation and we’ll just get rid of it.”

“It’s clearly an infringement, it’s clearly a cash grab for the state,” Anderson said. “The FOID is simply a redundancy in current law that we’ve had with the federal NICS system for a long time and it’s just not necessary.”

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