Illinois State Police officials have received nearly 50,000 firearm transfer inquiries since March 13.
Some said they were getting hit with a perfect storm topped by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Illinois State Police officials provided updated numbers on Thursday. Since March 13, ISP’s Firearms Services Bureau has received 49,342 inquiries. That’s up from 38,929 requests announced from March 13 to March 25, and up from 18,980 inquiries from March 13 to March 18.
Illinois State Police officials said they’ve “experienced a high volume of submissions.”
Federal Firearms Licensees of Illinois Executive Director Todd Vandermyde said the unprecedented increase in firearms sales is more than the run on gun stores during President Barack Obama’s first term. He equated the three weeks’ worth of requests the same amount state police would typically get in three months.
Vandermyde said the increased sales tells him people want to make sure they can protect themselves.
“They are their own first responders and their own personal safety and protection, whether it be at home or on the street, is up to them,” Vandermyde said.
He doesn’t fault Illinois State Police staff, but rather the administration level managers who aren’t allocating proper resources to process the requests.
Vandermyde said he has heard it is taking up to nine days to get the background checks processed, when it is supposed to only take 72 hours.
Illinois State Rifle Association Executive Director Richard Pearson said he’s hearing stories of it taking two weeks.
“The perfect storm is what this is,” Pearson said. “This deals with mismanagement of resources, not properly allocating funds and doing what they were supposed to do with the funds and this pandemic.”
State police officials said they’re working to process the preseason as efficiently as possible “to ensure a timely response.”