Lawmakers in Illinois approved a plan on Wednesday that would up the cost and requirements to legally own a gun in the Land of Lincoln.
The Democrat-controlled state House approved SB 1966 on a narrow 62-52 vote after several hours of floor debate. The bill, which was originally introduced as a bail reform measure, was gutted and amended into its current format which would revamp the state’s Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card, which is issued by the Illinois State Police.
The cards, requried since 1968, currently cost $10 and are good for 10 years, with renewals running the same price. The new fee would double to $20 while the lifespan of the card would be slashed in half, to five years. That $20 fee would be split $15/$5 between the State Police Firearms Service Fund the State Police Revocation Fund, that latter of which goes to pay for a new unit to remove guns from those who have had their cards revoked.
Further, FOID applicants would have to submit fingerprints as part of their application, for which the bill sets a maximum additional fee of $30. Coupled with the proposed $20 FOID cost, those seeking to own a gun or buy ammunition in Illinois would see the cost to keep and bear arms jump from the current $10 to $50.
Finally, the bill also includes language that would force private sellers to conduct transfers through a licensed dealer for the sake of processing a background check on the sale, effectively banning person-to-person gun sales in the state without looping a gun store into the equation.
The proposal, which has seen nearly 8,000 witness slips filed, has the enthusiastic support of anti-gun groups such as Everytown and Giffords. To say the least, it is strongly opposed by both local and national Second Amendment organizations.
“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.”
The state Senate still needs to greenlight the bill before it can reach the desk of Gov. J.B. Pritzker. It has been placed on that chamber’s calendar for Thursday.