Exercising Constitutional rights in America should not cost money, but under new legislation approved in the Illinois House today the cost of gun ownership in Illinois will dramatically increase.
The House approved Senate Bill 1966 62-52. The legislation would substantially the increase cost of a FOID card and complicate the process by mandating fingerprinting as a requirement to obtain/renew a FOID card with a maximum cost of $30 for the service. The legislation also raises the FOID card renewals to $20 every 5 years (currently $10 for a 10-year license). Finally, it also requires private firearm sales/transfers go through a licensed dealer.
“This legislation is an affront to every gun owner in this state,” said Richard Pearson, executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Association. “You should not have to pay money to exercise your Constitutional rights. We have a guaranteed right to own a firearm under the Constitution, but here in Illinois to exercise that right, you must jump through all kinds of hoops and pay all kinds of money to the state. There are few things you can count on in life, but one of them is that Illinois State Rifle Association will keep fighting this in the Legislature and will be challenging this terrible legislation in court should it be signed into law.”
Today, the Illinois House passed the Fix the FOID Act (SB 1966), that address loopholes in the state’s existing gun licensing system that were brought to light following the tragic shooting that took five lives on February 15, 2019 in Aurora, Illinois. With days to go before the end of the Illinois legislative session, the Senate must call for a vote before the bill can head to the Governor’s desk.
“We are grateful to chief sponsor Representative Kathleen Willis and proud of the Illinois House for working to close the gaps in our gun laws to ensure that those who are prohibited from gun possession, are not able to easily evade the law and arm themselves,” said Kathleen Sances, president and CEO of G-PAC. “We urge the Illinois Senate to take this critical legislation over the finish line by voting yes to fixing the FOID.”
“People are looking for action to prevent gun violence, and Springfield is listening,” said Tanja Radakovich Murray, a volunteer with the Illinois chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “Closing deadly gaps in our gun laws is a matter of public safety, and the Senate should act quickly to send this important legislation to the Governor’s desk.”
“People prohibited from owning a gun shouldn’t be able to get their hands on one,” said Nico Bocour, state legislative director at Giffords, the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Representative Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, Captain Mark Kelly. “Gaps in Illinois’s strong laws have allowed dangerous individuals to use a firearm to cause devastating tragedies like the shooting in Aurora, Illinois. But state lawmakers didn’t just offer thoughts and prayers. They acted to make sure Illinoisans are safe from gun violence at work and in their communities. The Fix the FOID Act closes dangerous loopholes so only law-abiding citizens can buy a gun. We applaud Rep. Willis and Sen. Morrison for their leadership in sponsoring this legislation and look forward to Governor Pritzker signing the Fix the FOID Act into law.”
Under current Illinois law, individuals seeking to buy a gun must first obtain a Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) Card from the Department of State Police. The Fix the FOID Act would make the following key provisions to the current FOID system:
Require a point-of-sale background check for all gun sales, including those by an unlicensed seller.
Require applicants for FOID Cards to submit fingerprints as part of their application.
Reduce the FOID Card duration from 10 years to five years.
Require action by the State Police to remove guns once a FOID Card is revoked.
An investigation by the Chicago Tribune published last week found that as many as 30,000 guns may still be in the possession of Illinois residents deemed too dangerous to have them, while the Chicago Sun-Times editoralized in favor of Fix the FOID. In the editorial, the Sun-Times writes: “none of the modest measures being proposed in this legislation would impose an undue burden on anybody’s Second Amendment rights. But they might have saved the lives of five people in Aurora on Feb. 15, 2010.”
Support for the bill is growing across district and party lines. A recently released poll finds that two-thirds of Illinois voters support the Fix the FOID Act including roughly three-quarters of voters in suburban Cook County and the “collar counties” of DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will and almost half of voters in Downstate Illinois.
The measure passed out of the House by a margin of 62-52.
The roll call is here. Democratic Reps. Bristow, Greenwood, Halpin, Hoffman, Kifowit, Reitz, Scherer, Stuart and Yednock voted “No.”
Reps. DeLuca and Mayfield did not vote. Rep. Mason was excused.