Regulation Fail: Chicago Tribune Discovers FOIDs Don’t Work

“For more than four decades, Illinois’ Firearm Owners Identification card has been viewed as a first line of defense for protecting the public by trying to keep guns out of the hands of the most dangerous in society.” That’s the received wisdom, anyway, as handed down in a recent Chicago Tribune article. According to the enabling legislation that is, indeed, the idea behind the FOID system. But if the goal is to provide a system of identifying persons who are not qualified to acquire or possess firearms, firearm ammunition, etc., then why are you identifying the people who aren’t “not qualified”? . . .

The FOID system is supposed to provide LEOs with a way to identify prohibited persons, but the only way that happens is if someone with a disability actually applies for a card. Seriously, does anyone really think a self-respecting criminal will really do that?

But enough about the bass-ackwardness of FOIDs in practice. The Trib has some bad news to impart.

But a first-ever state audit of the program has found the safety net weakened by bureaucratic loopholes and erroneous and incomplete data that could allow the seriously mental ill and others to keep or get a FOID card to buy firearms and ammunition.

The question that leaps immediately to mind is, if this is the first audit ever done, how do we know the system ever really “worked”? Has the violent crime rate in Illinois been steadily dropping since 1968? Not according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Is it because Chicago has so few shootings since criminals can’t get guns? I think not.

Has the FOID system increased the number of nominally law-abiding citizens who find themselves caught up in some malum prohibitum violation or on the prohibited list for one reason or another? That would be my guess.

And it would also be my guess that if someone were to attempt a similar scheme (like requiring a News Worker ID card to buy printers, paper or ink, let’s say) with any of the non-Second Amendment civil rights, they would 1) be hounded off the floor of the Legislature, 2) be chucked out of office and 3) never be able to serve in any legislative, executive or judicial capacity ever again.

Okay, so there are holes in the system, What frightful crimes have resulted from said holes?

“How are people going to explain away the fact that a horrific event occurred, and it turns out this person had diagnosed mental health issues and their card was not (taken away or) the information was never forwarded to the state police, so they never had the ability to take the card away?” asked Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart.

I dunno, Tom, how did people explain away these crimes?

The audit doesn’t list any instances where that’s happened, and it’s unclear whether any have occurred.

So the law’s supporters are now reduced to simply making $hit up now. But just to be clear, the system is supposed to keep guns and ammo out of the hands of criminals, but it doesn’t, and it’s supposed to keep track prohibited persons, but it doesn’t, and it’s supposed to let LEOs know who isn’t supposed to have a gun/stun gun/taser, but it doesn’t.

A batting average like that qualifies the whole FOID scheme to hit cleanup for the Cubs. But wait; the Trib tells us there’s more!

The problems in Illinois’ reporting data compromises the FBI’s national criminal background check database, which is used by other states for gun purchases, the audit found. “The safety of the general public as a whole is at risk,” Auditor General William Holland said.

Ah, that would be the NICS database. The one that all retail firearm purchases have to go through, the one that makes the FOID system completely redundant.

Basically the Trib’s drivel boils down to little more than viewing with alarm and fear-mongering. Let’s face it – the FOID system does nothing to prevent criminal access to guns or ammunition. It was developed as a thinly veiled impediment to convince potential gun owners that it’s not worth the hassle to own a firearm.

The CDC (hardly a mouthpiece for the gun lobby) has looked at these sorts of restriction on acquisition law and determined that FOIDs are ineffective at achieving their stated goals.

Even if it weren’t for the fact that the freedom to own and carry the weapon of your choice is a natural, fundamental, and inalienable human, individual, civil, and Constitutional right[1], far more lives are saved annually in defensive gun uses as are lost in criminal gun uses.

So by throwing up obstacle after obstacle, the powers-that-be in Illinois are actually limiting good peoples’ access to guns, which limits their defensive use, allowing antis inside and outside the Legislature to argue that we need more “gun control”.

In fact, we just need more guns.