Illinois State Police on FOID card revocation: 'Mailed letters are not enough'

Illinois State Police with Gov. JB Pritzker

Illinois State Police, with the support of Gov. JB Pritzker (D), plan to get more zealous when it comes to pursuing revoked firearm cards in the Land of Lincoln. (Photo: ISP)

Officials in Illinois are seeking to aggressively increase enforcement of the state’s firearm laws with an emphasis on sharing information and “getting guns.”

Illinois State Police, with the support of Gov. JB Pritzker on Wednesday, unveiled a list of changes to how the agency handles firearms services processes, especially when it comes to revoking Firearm Owner’s Identification cards, needed to possess a gun in the state. This includes sharing information about identified gun owners with other agencies and increasing enforcement in cases where a card is revoked.

Currently, when a card is revoked, Illinois law requires the holder to surrender their FOID to police within 48 hours of receiving a mailed notification and complete a “Firearm Disposition Record” listing the details of their gun collection and who or where it was transferred to. In 2018, 10,818 FOID cards were revoked but ISP only received 2,616 Firearm Disposition Records. For reference, there are currently 2,285,990 active FOID cards statewide and over 250,000 new applications were filed last year alone.

“While the weaknesses of our nation’s background check system remain daunting, we must take whatever steps we can, large and small, to strengthen the fabric of these systems because any improvement could be the one that makes the difference,” said Brendan Kelly, ISP acting director. “While we simply cannot do it alone, we must increase sharing of information, the quality and value of information shared, and most importantly enforcement. Mailed letters are not enough.”

As part of the change, Gun Liaison Officers will be designated in each of the ISP’s zones to work with local law enforcement to coordinate FOID revocation details “with an emphasis on getting guns out of the hands of the most dangerous individuals, and ensuring information regarding FOID card revocations is shared with local law enforcement agencies on an ongoing basis.”

This includes informing local police, prosecutors and sheriffs of the reasons a gun owner’s FOID has been pulled as well as the individual’s firearm purchase history. Investigators will then tackle the accumulated lists on a case-by-case basis.

After reviewing the new ISP policy, state Sen. Neil Anderson, who has filed a bill to repeal the FOID card requirement altogether as a redundancy to federal law, argued the FOID is not needed. “It is an infringement on my Second Amendment right to have to pay to exercise that right,” said Anderson, R-Andalusia.

The majority of the comments to a social media post by ISP referencing the new initiative were overwhelmingly negative.

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