State Representative Tom Weber (R-Lake Villa) has introduced legislation for the 102nd General Assembly in response to the severe delays being experienced by FOID card holders.
Delays in the FOID card process are nothing new, but they have been exacerbated by an uptick in applications during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the pandemic started, the Illinois State Police (ISP) have received an average of over 35,000 FOID card applications a month. ISP is currently dealing with a backlog of almost 200,000 FOID and CCL requests, which includes both new applications and renewals. New card applications, which are being prioritized by ISP, are taking over three months to be processed, well over the statutorily required 30 days. Renewals are taking even longer.
The state is currently having to create new guidelines and expiration exceptions to make up for the delays so that law abiding gun owners are not, through no fault of their own, in conflict with the law.
Rep. Weber’s recently filed legislation will make the FOID card a lifetime card, not subject to renewal. Currently, FOID cards are only valid for 10 years.
“State and local police already have the means to immediately determine whether someone loses their FOID card status, making the renewal process unnecessary,” Rep. Weber explained. ISP Director Brandon Kelly has called the renewal system “outdated and inefficient”.
Rep Weber continued, “while ISP is doing their best and looking to hire more application analysts, there are more important things the Illinois State Police should be focusing their attention on. I would rather ISP be freed up to focus on the rape kit backlog and other more serious crimes, rather than a program that ultimately infringes upon people’s second amendment rights.”
Weber filed the legislation under House Bill 3761 and the bill is currently awaiting committee assignment.