FOID revamp offers options to legal gun owners

National

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (NEXSTAR) — The Illinois State Police receive anywhere from 10,000 to 15,000 FOID renewal applications a month. But it wasn’t until March that they actually started to approve as many applications as they were bringing in. Now, they are just trying to make a dent in the backlog.

The process is supposed to take 60 days, but for thousands of Illinois gun owners, renewing their FOID card has taken much longer. Now, Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly feels there is finally a solution.

“If they don’t want to have to go through this very cumbersome, slow, annoying renewal process, then they’ll be able to move forward through that process automatically and very quickly,” said Kelly.

FOID cardholders now have the option to submit fingerprints with the Illinois State Police. In exchange, the renewal process will be automatic.

“The more specific identification information we can have, the quicker the process goes and the more likely we are to identify people who are appropriate to have a firearm and be able to zero in on those people that are threats to public safety,” Kelly said.

Gov. Pritzker signed the new law earlier this week in Aurora — blocks from the site of a mass shooting two and a half years ago.

“Simply expanding background checks on all gun sales, record keeping of those sales and expanding funding, so police can deal with people who don’t turn in their revoked FOID cards will help reduce the chance that another person slips through the cracks,” Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman said at the signing.

The FOID revamp was tied into several other gun safety measures that are now law. All gun sales in the state will require background checks, and the FOID databases will be made available to all officers on the road, so they can see if somebody had a FOID card revoked or if they have one now.

This is the first major reform to the bureaucracy behind the FOID card since it was created. Critics call the card pointless, and an obstruction to Illinoisans constitutional rights, but Kelly disagrees.

“It does stop a large number of people from getting access to a firearm, that otherwise would if that system was not in place,” Kelly said. “Those are just the facts. That’s just what the numbers show.”

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