Lawmakers propose requiring fingerprints for gun ownership, doubling FOID fees to reduce gun violence

(The Center Square) – Illinois lawmakers are proposing fingerprints and higher costs for Illinois’ Firearm Owners Identification Card in an effort to keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them.

State Sen. Ram Villivalam’s amended Senate Bill 568 would double the cost of receiving a FOID card to $20 and cut the expiration date in half to five years. In addition, it would also require the cardholder to submit them to the Illinois State Police.

The higher costs for obtaining a card and transferring guns would go to mental health services and another fund that would pay for the increased operations within ISP to enforce the program.

A 2019 shooting in suburban Aurora that left five dead was perpetrated by a man whose FOID card had been revoked.

Villivalam said at a recent news conference that the increasing rate of gun violence requires action.

“It ensures that we’re giving the Illinois State Police the ability to take the guns of folks who shouldn’t have them,” he said. “It makes sure that we’re getting funding, life-saving funding, mental health funding, to the communities that have been most impacted by gun violence.”

Another major change in the legislation would require that any change in ownership of a firearm be conducted through a licensed gun dealer. That includes inheriting firearms from a deceased family member or if two FOID cardholders consent to a loan between them.

The potential glut of transfer requests has Todd Vandermyde, executive director of Federal Firearms Licensees of Illinois, skeptical that the law could be enforced.

“I think that there will be a lot of dealers that just aren’t going to do it,” he said. “The real burden is going to fall on the individual to be able to find a place.”

And because there are not federal firearms licensees within Chicago to legally transfer a gun, Vandermyde says that would amount to a civil rights violation.

“If somebody is a Chicago resident, where do they go transfer a firearm? If a bunch of those shops in Cook County say they’re not going to do it for $10,” he said, “how far are they going to have to go?”

The bill would also add another act in which a cardholder could have their privileges removed. In addition to threats or acts of physical violence to someone or themselves identified by a medical official, school or law enforcement, it includes any “act that is intended to cause or create a risk and does cause or create a risk of death or great bodily harm to one or more persons.”

Villivalam’s bill has 24 sponsors including himself, an indication that the measure will be considered.

The FOID card program is facing lawsuits over delays in issuing the cards.

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