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LRU finds millions diverted from or not spent by gun-related fund

Tuesday, Dec 10, 2019 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Rep. Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego) asked the Legislative Research Unit, which is now part of the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability, to look into how much was swept or transferred out of any state funds which pay for the FOID card program, background checks for gun-related purposes and concealed carry licensing.

LRU produced this chart on spending from the State Police Firearm Services Fund. Click the pic for a better view

Man, that’s a lot of money being left on or swiped from the table that could be used to better administer those programs.

* From Illinois State Rifle Association lobbyist Ed Sullivan’s analysis

1.) The State Police have consistently not used all the money available in the Firearm Services Fund over the five years covered in this report. On average the State Police have not used $2,698,753 per year for the identified purposed in this report: administration of the FOID Program, background checks for firearm-related services, and conceal-carry licensing.

    a. Revenue – Spending = unused funds (averaged for the 5 years)

2.) The average ending balance of the Firearm Services Fund over the five years covered in this report is $6,847302. This number includes five years of fund sweeps totaling $13,210,268. If the fund sweeps are added back into the total ending balance for the five years covered in the report, the Firearm Services Fund would have an average ending balance of $9,489,355.

3.) The State Police Services Fund receives $1 of every FOID Card fee. This fund is used to administer the Firearm Transfer Inquiry Program (FTIP). The five years that this report covers there has been $15,296,510 swept from this fund.

4.) Total fund sweeps/transfers into the General Fund of $13,210,268 from the State Police Firearm Services Fund and $15,296,510 from the State Police Services Fund over the five years covered in this report total $28,506, 778.

5.) When the conceal Carry act was being written, the sponsors of the bill purposefully made the fee $150 so the State Police had enough money to run the FOID System and the CCW System. Former Gov. Quinn was starving the FOID system and FOID card turnaround was pushing six months or more. The intent of the high CCW fee was to make the systems self-reliant.

    a. By not using the fees generated by FOID and CCW the State Police opened themselves up to the General Assembly sweeping the perceived excess funds.

6.) According to this report, the FY2018 BIMP, which authorized interfund borrowing and fund sweeps, required that money be transferred back to a fund from which it had been swept or borrowed if that fund has “insufficient cash” to support appropriated spending.

    a. The State Police did not declare insufficient cash to maintain the mission of the Firearm Services Fund or the State Police Services Fund otherwise the fund sweeps of $13,210,268 and $15,296,510 would have been paid back.
    b. P.A. 100-23 (2017), adding 30ILCS 105/5h.5(b) and 30 ILCS 105/8.52(b)

7.) If the FOID card fee was increased by $10, and all the revenue generated went to the Firearm Services Fund, the fees generated would equal approximately $2,300,000 a year for ten years. Put another way, the State Police are not spending fees presently collected that would equal a $10 increase in the FOID fees per year. These statistics do not include average ending balances that have not been spent or average ending balances with Fund Sweeps not spent.

* ISRA press release…

“Five years of fund sweeps is unacceptable and needs to be addressed immediately. Beyond the delays and problems in the FOID and ICCL program, these fund sweeps are hampering citizens from exercising their Constitutional Right. Our office gets daily calls from people who are having difficulties navigating the FOID card process so it’s no wonder we see these problems, given a significant portion of the money intended to fund the program has been raided for other state programs,” [Richard Pearson, Executive Director of the Illinois State Rifle Association] said.

Efforts by anti-gun groups to push legislation that would more than double the FOID card fee was a call to action for ISRA to get unbiased data on how the FOID and Concealed Carry programs have been managed and how they are funded. The anti-gunners insisted the program was underfunded and therefore the FOID fee must be raised. The experienced ISRA lobby team worked with Rep. Wheeler (R-Oswego) to have the Legislative Research Unit produce an unbiased accounting of the revenues generated by the FOID card and ICCL fees.

“We pursued this investigation because we wanted honest gun owners to know the truth about what was happening to the fees that they pay for the right to own a firearm in Illinois,” Pearson said. “We worked with Rep. Wheeler to secure a report from the Legislative Research Unit on what was happening to the user fees and now we know. There is no shortage – just money being taken from these accounts to be used for other things.”


  1. - Blue Dog Dem - Tuesday, Dec 10, 19 @ 12:29 pm:

    This state is absolutely denying my second amendment rights merely by the fact it’s going on 3 months to renew my useless foid.

  2. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Tuesday, Dec 10, 19 @ 12:45 pm:

    == merely by the fact it’s going on 3 months to renew my useless foid.==

    I don’t understand that kind of delay. I just renewed my FOID, got the new card less than 4 weeks after I sent in the renewal form and required picture.

    To the post, as much as I dislike the ISRA, they’ve got a good point. You can’t justify raising the fee if ISP isn’t even using the money it currently collects. This is why even dem gun owners like me distrust anti-gun activist groups.

  3. - Huh? - Tuesday, Dec 10, 19 @ 12:45 pm:

    Blue - According to the ISP Firearms Services Bureau website, if you have submitted your request to renew the FOID and have a copy of the payment receipt, you can use the expired FOID until the new card arrives. You should have seen that notice when you renewed your card. I did and printed it out.

  4. - SW - Tuesday, Dec 10, 19 @ 12:48 pm:

    It is bad enough we have to pay to exercise a constitutional right. But not using the available funds to fix the delays is unconscionable. If I was a conspiracy theorist I would say the lack of adequate staffing when funding is available is intended to stick it to gun owners.

  5. - Blue Dog Dem - Tuesday, Dec 10, 19 @ 12:49 pm:

    Huh. I can’t by ammo with an expired card. And no one takes the payment receipt.

  6. - Anyone Remember - Tuesday, Dec 10, 19 @ 12:56 pm:

    While this is a good start, it is woefully incomplete. First, FY 2015 started under Quinn - how many open ePARs were there? For FY 2019, why such under expenditure? $5.7 of the $9.5 million expended was for personal services - how many unfilled vacancies? The ePAR data should be FOIA accessible. How about vacancies post ePAR under Rauner?

  7. - Nieva - Tuesday, Dec 10, 19 @ 1:14 pm:

    So delay the process and then claim you need more money to speed up the process??

  8. - FormerParatrooper - Tuesday, Dec 10, 19 @ 1:37 pm:

    We are told the issues of violence by people using firearms can be helped by increasing the fees on FOID and CCW. Many have argued that the State needed the additional funds and that firearms owners needed to be responsible for their rights and pay up. Here we see the money is not being spent properly. This is what fuels resentment and fosters a lack of trust of those who pay to exercise a right.

    Of course, I bet if we looked at every program the State runs by licenses and fee’s we can find the same issues.

  9. - Donnie Elgin - Tuesday, Dec 10, 19 @ 1:43 pm:

    Takes the wind out the sails of Willis’s rationale for the $50 FOID fee in her FIX the FOID Bill

    ” Willis says the money generated by increased FOID fees would completely fund increased enforcement by Illinois State Police”

  10. - Dudley Magoo - Tuesday, Dec 10, 19 @ 1:45 pm:

    How many people that shouldn’t have a gun because their FOID card was revoked were missed because of under staffing? This is pretty explosive when you think about it.

  11. - Motambe - Tuesday, Dec 10, 19 @ 1:56 pm:

    The report makes it appear the ISP administration is sorely inept, or that they are engaged in a racketeering conspiracy with the Governors and General Assembly. Rumors were, and these are rumors, that under Blagovich the FOID card staff was cut significantly. I would prefer to see all the funds spent to expedite the FOID card process and to follow-up on folks who have been or should be denied a card.

  12. - Anyone Remember - Tuesday, Dec 10, 19 @ 2:04 pm:

    Under Blagojevich and Quinn employees in governor’s agencies went from 65 thousand to 50 thousand (12/31/2002 to 06/30/2014). And that doesn’t even include fund sweeps.

  13. - Richard Pearson - Tuesday, Dec 10, 19 @ 2:07 pm:

    Printing a copy of your FOID app and receipt only works if an
    ISP officer stops you. Many local police do not honor it. We have reports of arrests by local police.

  14. - Blue Dog Dem - Tuesday, Dec 10, 19 @ 2:12 pm:

    Its evidence based. Its data driven. The FOID concept does zero to reduce gun violence. There. That settles that.

  15. - Dudley Magoo - Tuesday, Dec 10, 19 @ 2:36 pm:

    Does anyone find it odd there is no response from the administration. I realize the data in this report predates this administration. Or Rep Willis. She loves this issue

  16. - Nadigam - Tuesday, Dec 10, 19 @ 2:40 pm:


    From March of this year. Evidently the administration has a plan. Looks like they have the money to implement that plan.

  17. - Todd - Tuesday, Dec 10, 19 @ 3:01 pm:

    as an FFL if you show up to pick up or buy a gun and your card is expired, you’re not even gonna fill out the paperwork until you come back with either a current FOID or CHL.

    State Police have told me they would approve a FTIP on an expired FOID whose made an application and our response was you want me to put down on a federal form an ID that’s expired, where I have to list the expiration date? FTIP approval or not it ain’t gonna happen.

    I would also point out the statute now gives them 60 business days to issue renewal. They will only let you apply 60 calendar days out. typical government

  18. - Donnie Elgin - Tuesday, Dec 10, 19 @ 3:13 pm:

    “Does anyone find it odd there is no response from the administration”

    This is the type of news that will be ignored by JB and the IL Dems, as it does not further their “sensible gun control” narrative.

  19. - Tequila Mockingbird - Tuesday, Dec 10, 19 @ 3:17 pm:

    Dear Illinois,
    end the FOID (it doesn’t work anyway)
    Send me a refund. You have my address.

  20. - Nadigam - Tuesday, Dec 10, 19 @ 3:18 pm:


    So state statute allows the ISP to issue a renewal 60 days after expiration and keep the FOID card active? But Federal doesn’t allow dealers to use the expired date for purchase? That is typical Illinois government. And yet they seem to be rolling in cash.

  21. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Dec 10, 19 @ 3:19 pm:

    The fund sweep issue has been out there for a myriad of funds. The state has used them for piggy banks. This isn’t unique to that fund (unfortunately).

  22. - theCardinal - Tuesday, Dec 10, 19 @ 3:20 pm:

    Used to be able to get a FOID in less than 3 weeks. CC process took 8 weeks after testing and expidited fingprint process that cost me and extra 80$ The system is set up to be inconvenient to the law abiding citizenry.

  23. - fs - Tuesday, Dec 10, 19 @ 3:22 pm:

    == Many local police do not honor it. We have reports of arrests by local police.==

    ==State Police have told me they would approve a FTIP on an expired FOID whose made an application and our response was you want me to put down on a federal form an ID that’s expired, where I have to list the expiration date? FTIP approval or not it ain’t gonna happen.==

    The act now says pretty clearly, in multiple sections, that a card remains valid past the date printed on a card if they submit their renewal prior to expiration. If law enforcement is arresting people who have proof of renewal submission, they had better be making an arrest based on a system showing it invalid, and not because the face of the card says it’s expired. That change to the statute was made within the last year or two, so my guess is law enforcement (who are not State Police have yet to catch up to what the law says.

  24. - Enemy of the State - Tuesday, Dec 10, 19 @ 3:23 pm:

    Does this add anything to the argument that the FOID fee is a poll tax?

  25. - fs - Tuesday, Dec 10, 19 @ 3:25 pm:

    == But Federal doesn’t allow dealers to use the expired date for purchase==

    Federal law cares about whether a card is valid, which is still would be if they show proof they’ve submitted an application prior to a printed expiration date, and the system says it’s valid. Any other reading is a stretch.

  26. - Dudley Magoo - Tuesday, Dec 10, 19 @ 3:29 pm:


    Um…She’s sick. My best friends sister’s boyfriend brother’s girlfriend heard from this guy who knows this kid who is going with a girl that saw Willis pass out at the 31 flavors last night…I guess it’s pretty serious.

  27. - Blue Dog Dem - Tuesday, Dec 10, 19 @ 5:18 pm:

    I am willing to fund a lawsuit against the state.

  28. - Anyone Remember - Tuesday, Dec 10, 19 @ 6:07 pm:

    Blue Dog Dem
    “I am willing to fund a lawsuit against the state.”
    Of all the things wrong in Illinois, and this is the lawsuit you’d fund? Since the ILSC said actuarially required funding is not required, and anti-fund sweep cases have lost, not sure what I’d fund. Perhaps a suit to require CMS / DoIT fees be actual costs, not just a fund’s ability to pay?

  29. - Elmer Keith - Tuesday, Dec 10, 19 @ 6:50 pm:

    “We pursued this investigation because we wanted honest gun owners to know the truth…” “Honest gun owners?” As opposed to dishonest gun owners? Put that one in Pearson’s ISRA fundraising missives to the gun hicks along with his favorite, “law abiding gun owners.”

    Want to know “the truth?” Prior to the passage of Rep. Brandon Phelps’ concealed carry bill, Pearson and former NRA lobbyist Todd Vandermyde couldn’t grovel low enough to the anti-gun police unions, handing them criminal penalties for every violation of the carry bill, including creating new “crimes” like Duty to Inform. Expecting these buffoons to “fix” the nightmare they created is like hiring an alcoholic to be your bartender.

  30. - Nagidam - Tuesday, Dec 10, 19 @ 9:02 pm:

    @ Elmer Fud

    Duty to inform is more about protecting the carry permit holder as much as the officer. You only have to answer a question when asked. If the officer asks if you are carrying you answer. If you lie you have a problem. I see the Carry law as a huge win for what it also did for preemption and ending the handgun registration in Chicago.

  31. - Blue Dog Dem - Tuesday, Dec 10, 19 @ 10:09 pm:

    Anyone. By denying me my right to buy shotgun shells to go hunting and self protection, the state has stolen my second amendment rights. This is why I am engaging in a trillion dollar lawsuit against the state.

  32. - Alpha Bet Boy - Tuesday, Dec 10, 19 @ 11:22 pm:

    soooo… if I’m waiting for my ccw right now for 2.5 months and there’s proof of the state hindering my right to bear arms, can’t we file a class action suit for deprivation of civil liberties?

  33. - FormerParatrooper - Wednesday, Dec 11, 19 @ 4:16 am:

    I have mixed thoughts about class action against the State. If the suit was to force the State to follow the law and to rectify wrongs, I could go along. If you were to receive monetary damages it would almost have to be limited to the money they have in the fund. More than that is recieving tax payer money, our money, and the politicians are not the ones being responsible for the payments. Money from the fund is the money we paid to exercise our right, and the rest of the tax base did not contribute to the fund.

  34. - commoncents - Wednesday, Dec 11, 19 @ 6:52 am:

    The citizens have been lied to and there is seldom accountability. If statements are used to pass legislation and they are proven untrue after the law goes into effect, the law should be repealed. Stop lying to Illinois Citizens. We have had enough of the political manipulation.

  35. - Perturbed - Wednesday, Dec 11, 19 @ 8:08 am:

    @Alpha Bet Boy
    I’ve been waiting 257 days for CCL. Took 163 days for address change on FOID. Checks for both fees cashed within 3 business days. Seems about right /s

  36. - Elmer Keith - Wednesday, Dec 11, 19 @ 10:27 am:

    Now Richard Pearson & ISRA tell their members that the Illinois State Police are sweeping funds from FOID and CCL fees, so does that mean the state police are no longer “the friends” of gun owners? During the runup to Brandon Phelps’ carry bill, Pearson assured ISRA members that “law abiding gun owners” and “the police” are “on the same side.” But ISP did not support the carry bill, their official position was neutral.

    So which it? Are the state police no longer “the good guys?” Pearson is an insurance salesman in Chatsworth. He does not have the brain power or education to deal with politics at this level. ISRA & NRA are not capable of delivering a solution for the Frankensteins they create, but it keeps them in business.

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