By an annoyed Illinoisan
Not to be too cynical, but could it be that the Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and the rest of the suburbanoids who want to continue to deny Illinois citizens their Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms are using the state’s fiscal problems against gun owners? Are they counting on a lack of funds and the total incompetence of the Illinois State Police (ISP) in their administration of the firearms owners identification (FOID) cards? Have they thought it through to the extent that – gasp! – if concealed carry were somehow legalized in Illinois, the ISP would probably be in charge of the CCW paper chain, too, and would most likely botch that the same way they have botched FOIDs? . . .
In Illinois, a FOID card is required to purchase guns and ammo. In fact, you need one just to hold a gun or a cartridge in your hot little hand. Created by the FOID Act in 1968 “as a way to identify those persons eligible to possess and acquire firearms and firearm ammunition,” it was part of a ‘public safety’ initiative. So how’s that been working out?
A FOID card costs residents $10.00 every 10 years. And since it was put into place, the legislature has had to force the staties to staff up in order to comply with the legal requirement that all applications be processed or denied within 30 days. Not that it’s done much good.
The big problem with the missed renewal deadlines is that current FOID holders who don’t receive their new card before the old one expires become instant criminals. All thanks to the utter incompetence and crushing bureaucracy of Illinois’ dedicated public servants.
In fact, the Auditor General of the State of Illinois looked at the ISP’s administration of the FOID Act and published its findings in April of 2012 in a concise, easy-to-read report.
A few nuggets from the synopsis:
“The effectiveness of the Illinois FOID card program operated by the ISP is limited in promoting and protecting the safety of the public. Our audit also found that:
- The Illinois State Police’s Firearms Services Bureau did not approve all FOID cards in the required 30 days for the 903,139 applications received during 2008, 2009, and 2010. Over the three year period, 566,616 of 879,906 (64%) applications were approved within 30 days. In 2008, 40 percent of cards were approved within 30 days. The processing times improved to 80 percent in 2009 and decreased to 70 percent in 2010.
- ISP did not deny all FOID card applications in the required 30 days. For applications received during 2008, 2009, and 2010, ISP denied 20,152. Over the three year period, 71 percent of the denied FOID cards were denied within the required 30 days.
- During 2008, 2009, and 2010, the ISP recorded 21,212 reasons for revocations of FOID cards for 20,227 cardholders. ISP officials estimated that only 30 percent of revoked FOID cards are returned to ISP.
- ISP did not have enough Customer Service Representatives to handle the volume of calls that are received by the Bureau related to the FOID card program. According to call logs provided by ISP, during the last quarter of 2010, 25,131 of 29,420 calls (85%) were not answered by ISP.
- According to documentation provided by ISP, from July 1, 2009, through June 30, 2011, the State Police spent $526,919 on overtime for FOID card processing.
Did you catch that? On the 30-day requirement, the best they’ve done in the three year period was 70%. Oh, and 85% of the calls placed to the FOID black hole go unanswered. Your tax dollars at work.
But since the governor and legislature just pushed through a massive tax hike, surely some of the new revenue will go to fill the gaps in the FOID process, right? Don’t hold your breath. With over $8 billion in unpaid bills, the new tax revenue won’t even clear state’s outstanding payables, let alone go to shore up a program almost no one in state government wants anyway.
Of course, there’s a solution to all this. One that will not only solve the problem, but save the state millions of dollars in administrative costs — elimination of the laughable FOID requirement along with shall-issue concealed carry. Better yet, constitutional carry would save even more taxpayer money by zeroing out the red tape needed for a carry permit. Oh, and the side benefit to all Illinoisans, rich and poor, upstate or downstate, would be restoration of their constitutional right to keep and bear arms.
A guy can dream, can’t he?