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Illinois State Police facing FOID card backlog, state senator files bill to eliminate law

Published: Mar. 16, 2021 at 9:49 PM CDT
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QUAD CITIES, Illinois (KWQC) - An increase in gun sales has created longer wait times for Firearm Owner Identification cards in Illinois.

According to state law, it should take no more than 30 days for FOID card approval and 90 days for concealed carry, but right now the Firearms Services Bureau is averaging 119 days for new FOID applications and 160 days for concealed carry licenses.

A spokesperson for Illinois State Police said the department has approximately 138,000 applications still pending, but have processed 118 percent more FOID cards so far this year compared to the same period last year. 16,000 new CCL applications are been processed in the first two months of this year, which is a 28 percent increase.

The department blames a surge of applications, related to COVID-19 and other current events, as well as financial instability from the previous state administration, but said the new budget allows ISP to hire at least 32 additional analysts and invest in technology upgrades.

Despite the improvements, Illinois State Sen. Neil Anderson thinks it’s time to eliminate FOID cards altogether, calling the program outdated.

“It had its time in place, but now with instant federal background checks there’s simply no need for it. It’s a redundancy, it’s a cash grab for the state. And it’s obviously causing issues especially right now with the huge backlog,” he said.

Sen. Anderson has filed Senate Bill 1754, which would eliminate the roughly 50 year old system, every year since he was first elected to serve western Illinois.

“Taking this away doesn’t take away the process that people from every other state has to go through in the instant background check,” Sen. Anderson said.

In a statement, Illinois State Police said legislative remedies to streamline and modernize the process are necessary.

“We look forward to working with all interested parties and members of the general assembly to reach those solutions. The Firearms Services Bureau is committed to resolving the issues and meeting our public safety mission.”

Pending renewals remain valid under emergency rules enacted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This means FOID cardholders who submit their renewal application will remain valid during the duration of the state’s disaster proclamation and for a period of 18 months following the termination of the disaster, even if their renewal application is/was not submitted prior to expiration. The statement continued:

“The ISP Firearms Services Bureau encourages FOID cardholders to keep a copy of their confirmation from their submitted renewal application as additional verification of compliance.”

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