* Press release…
The Second Amendment Foundation and Illinois State Rifle Association have filed suit in U.S. District Court against the Illinois State Police, ISP Director Brendan Kelly and Jessica Trame in her official capacity as Bureau Chief of the Illinois State Police Firearms Services Bureau, alleging they have allowed Firearm Owner Identification Card and Concealed Carry applications to languish for interminable periods, thus violating the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Illinois citizens.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Illinois residents Ryan A. Thomas and Goran Lazic. Plaintiffs are represented by attorneys David G. Sigale of Wheaton and Gregory Bedell of Chicago. The lawsuit is known as Thomas, et.al. v. Illinois State Police, et.al.
The lawsuit, filed in the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division federal court, says ISP “has swept or transferred funds totaling more than $29,500,000.00 from the State Police Firearms Services Fund, the State Police Operations Assistance Fund, and the State Police Services Fund away from these funds and into other accounts.” According to the complaint, “The money was to be used for three purposes: administration of the Firearm Owners Identification Card (“FOID Card Act”), background checks for firearm-related services, and concealed carry licensing pursuant to the Firearms Concealed Carry Act (“FCCA”). Instead, the more than $29,500,000.00 has been subject to interfund transfers which are ostensibly to be repaid but which have not been, or swept into other accounts without an obligation to reimburse the funds at all.”
“The sweeping of funds has denied qualified Illinois citizens their rights and the ability to defend themselves and their families,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “Because of this practice, ISP processing of FOID and concealed carry applications has slowed to a crawl, allowing paperwork to languish. That’s not just poor performance, it’s pathetic.”
“The citizens of Illinois have been delayed getting their FOID cards for months,” added ISRA Executive Director Richard Pearson. “It is evident that these fund sweeps have caused these delays.”
Thomas has been fighting the system for nearly three years. He had previously held a FOID card and carry license, but lost them simply because he moved out of state for a while. Since his return, to be closer to his children. Lazic had a FOID and CCL appeal pending since 2017 when a charge against him was dismissed and later expunged.
“It is inexcusable that the ISP has simply allowed these cases to gather dust,” Gottlieb said. “Denial of rights under color of law is an abomination to the Second and 14th Amendments of the Constitution and Illinois state law. ISP has had plenty of time to do the right thing, and didn’t. Now we’re asking the court to make them do it.”
Illinois State Police officials said they are working through a backlog of FOID renewal requests. Last month, the agency reported a backlog of more than 60,000 applications.
“The FOID card this year is a huge issue with the renewals,” state Sen. Neil Anderson, R-Andalusia, said. “Having people nervous about having their Second Amendment right taken away because we’re behind on getting their new FOID card – that’s a big issue.”
Anderson said he doesn’t blame state police.
“We’re in one of those ten-year cycles where everybody’s FOID card is coming up for renewal at the same time,” he said.
The lawsuit is here. Background on the sweeps is here.