Illinois House GOP Pushes Back Against SB 1966 Higher FOID Fees

Illinois SB 1966 is a draconian bill that will increase Firearms Owner ID card fees, require mandatory fingerprinting (at gun owner’s expense), and make the FOID card valid for only 5 years instead of 10. You MUST have one of these cards in the Land of Lincoln to legally posses a firearm (although a few court cases are challenging that).

SB 1966 exists due to the 2019 Henry Pratt Company shooting in Aurora, Illinois (never let a crisis go to waste). To sum up what happened, a convicted felon was able to get a FOID card from the Illinois State Police despite his criminal record. His felony conviction later popped up when he applied for a concealed carry license, which was denied.

The ISP sent him a FOID revocation letter, which the shooter ignored. His local PD was also notified of the revocation, but never followed up on it. So he was a felon in possession thanks to the ISP’s failure to turn up his criminal record when they processed his FOID application.

A detailed breakdown of the failures and screw-ups that led to the shooting by the Illinois State Police and Illinois legislators can be found here.

Back in early December of 2019, a story broke which detailed the misuse (or lack of use) of funds meant for the FOID and concealed carry license application system. The story detailed some of the shenanigans that occur where the Illinois State Police processes FOID/CCL cards, including tens of millions of dollars that had been budgeted to fund the ISP processing operation, but were instead diverted to other uses by the state.

Those discoveries resulted in a federal lawsuit against the Illinois State Police over the FOID and CCL application processing delays (a right delayed is a right denied, right?).

 

In May of 2019 during an Illinois House Judiciary Committee hearing regarding SB1966 the main sponsor for the bill, Rep. Kathleen Willis, had this to say as to one of the primary reasons for the bill:

Willis said the purpose of the bill is to “keep up” with FOID revocations and create better communication between local and state law enforcement agencies.

“One of the reasons that we saw that revocations were not followed up as best as they could was because there was no money in resources to be able to do that,” Willis said.

During the same hearing, the Illinois State Police tried to justify the slow processing by claiming that Illinois gun owners just aren’t paying enough to the state:

State Police Lt. John Thompson testified Tuesday about the challenges his agency faces with the limited funds it receives for FOID revocation enforcement.

He said the fee of $10 for 10 years isn’t enough to sustain the nearly 1,000 applications the department receives daily.

“We’re running a very, very basic operation, and it’s not what’s expected of us and we need to do better,” Thompson said.

The fact is that Illinois anti-gun legislators knew there was plenty of money available to fund the FOID and CCL application operation. Strangely, though, one of the main house sponsors of SB1966 sponsored a “fund transfers” bill that went nowhere in 2017. But an amendment to it was worked into the 2018 budget.

The purpose of the bill: millions in budgeted funds were swept from the Illinois State Police Firearms Services Fund into the General Revenue Fund. In other words, the state is siphoning off cash at the expense of Illinois gun owners and using it to fund the state’s huge budget deficit.

Here’s the original bill:

The amendment is located here.

The fund sweeps have been confirmed by the Legislative Research Unit (and were included in the 2018 State Finance Act):

Legislative Research Unit findings:

2018 State Finance Act:

Illinois’ anti-gun legislators clearly knew exactly what they were doing.

That brings us to yesterday, March 5 2020. Illinois House GOP members held a press conference and talked about how to fix this mess (one of which is tossing out the FOID system entirely, but that isn’t likely to happen any time soon).

“You have several problems here,” said Rep. Michael Marron, R-Fithian. “The first thing is, is that you are taking law abiding citizens who are trying to exercise their constitutional right to bear arms, and you’re creating a problem for them being compliant with the state law.”

The lawmakers said nearly $30 million in funding was swept from the ISP’s coffers to the state’s general revenue fund from fiscal years 2015 to 2019, including more than $13 million from the Firearm Services Fund which goes to FOID administration.

In response, Illinois State Police spokeswoman Beth Hundsdorfer issued this statement:

“’Sweeps’ of the firearms services fund prevented long-term planning and improvements to firearm services for years,” she said. “Now that the firearms services fund has been stabilized under the governor’s bipartisan budget, the ISP is implementing a multi-year plan for hiring and technology upgrades to provide the customer service that firearms owners should expect. We currently have 35 positions available.”

That’s a different position taken by the her boss just last month:

At a news conference last month, ISP Director Brendan Kelly called for greater resources to enforce FOID revocations and administer the program, and he backed Senate Bill 1966 which would double FOID fees and require renewals every five years.

The processing delays and budget chicanery were created around an outdated system that isn’t needed. Legislators swept appropriated funds because the ISP doesn’t use the all funds they have. FOID and CCL applications piled up on desks. Then the ISP demanded MORE money for the special fund that’s supposed to bankroll the processing center.

The ISP — while crying poor — didn’t even bother to ask to be reimbursed by the Illinois General Assembly for the millions in swept funds. The real victims in this mess are — SURPRISE! — Illinois’ legal gun owners.

Maybe the Illinois State Police should review their own policies & procedures manual for the Firearms Services Bureau (obtained by FOIA request) regarding FOID/CCL processing (starting on page 55). That should give them some insights on how all of this should be done.

Meanwhile SB 1966 will get another hearing in the Senate any day now.

comments

  1. avatar FormerParatrooper says:

    When you sweep and take the money we paid to be compliant and then demand we pay more because they swept the money, it sounds like extortion.

    D’s and R’s in Illinois are both complicit.

    1. avatar Sigiloso says:

      True. The R’s voted for the sweeps as well. However most of them aren’t demanding gun owners pay more to fund their extortion scheme in this instance

    2. avatar Craig in IA says:

      NEWS FLASH!!! No one in IL is paying enough to keep the state afloat at the rate it’s legislature and governor is spending. It’d be nearly impossible to become solvent and that’s the plan, isn’t it? Charging firearms owners more and more will have about the same affect as charging more and more for gas and tobacco taxes and then whining when people quit driving or smoking. There’s an old fable out there: The Goose That Laid the Golden Egg. While the firearms laws are a difficult thing for people around here, I don’t see how anyone can live in IL with everything else going on. Ditto CA, RI, CN, NJ- on and on.

    3. avatar DJ.U. says:

      Sounds like a class action law suit is needed, along with a petition drive to force the courts to restore the money, and to do their constitutional duty to hold those theivs responsible for the theft and fraudulent actions. The feds should also be requisted to do the same. There surely is a law on the books somewhere that’ll address this kind of tax fraud. As the fee is a tax of sort.

    4. avatar Rand says:

      If I was in Illinois (which would never happen in the 1st place) I would not be complying with a FOID or any kind of pre-purchase or ownership requirement especially if I only kept a weapon at home.

      1. avatar Sigiloso says:

        Rand, there is a lawsuit waiting to be heard by the IL Supreme Court for exactly what you describe. The lower court ruled in favor of the defendant, so now we wait and see what the ILSC says

        http://m.navigatorjournal.com/news/article_60daafda-e537-11e9-ade3-9fb311f8b5e8.html

    5. avatar frank speak says:

      beats me how this crazy scheme has been able to survive constitutional review….

  2. avatar Nacho says:

    But what are they doing about the coronavirus? Nothing! Better be prepared folks because stuff is about to hit the fan with this thing from China

    1. avatar Southern Cross says:

      Start stocking up on essentials, especially toilet paper, as you may be in a locked down quarantine for up to a month.

    2. avatar Someone says:

      Remember SARS? Ebola? Bird flu? African killer bees? Ozone hole causing skin cancer? Ice age coming before the 20th century is over? Manhattan underwater and no ice on polar caps by 2020 as a result of human caused global warming?
      Breathe…

      While we need to take every new threat seriously, let’s not panic about every scare that appears on the horizon.

      These artificial crises sell news, distract the population from real problems and enable politicians to push through policies that would have no chance of passing in “less dire” times.

      Meantime the regular flu kills tens of thousands Americans every year. Not a peep.

      1. avatar RGP says:

        Do I remember? Hell, I was there!

      2. avatar Hannibal says:

        Most of those were theoretical threats. This is not. It’s here, it’s spreading, and the only reason why people are still able to keep their heads in the sand is because the US government completely bungled everything including testing to the point where we have no idea how many cases their are. When more bodies start dropping it will be harder to ignore, although I suspect it will continue killing in nursing homes for a couple weeks before that happens.

        It’s not Ebola, it doesn’t kill whole towns. But it also doesn’t burn itself out. Right now we’re looking at about a 2-3% mortality rate with medical intervention and exponential spreading. About 4-6% of people require ICU beds including ventilators.The US has the capacity to provide critical care intervention for less than 100,000 people. When those spots fill up or the medical staff cannot handle the situation (as is happening in South Korea) the mortality rate will double.

        It’s not the end of the world. But it’s a big deal, possibly the worst pandemic since 1918. Three weeks ago was the time to prepare, but now is better than in a week.

        1. avatar Hannibal says:

          *there

    3. avatar Chris T in KY says:

      fyi
      Gun Owners of America (GOA) and the Tennessee Firearms Association (TFA) will host a Lobby Day in Nashville on March 10th to push for Constitutional Carry legislation. GOA and TFA will also advocate for pro-gun measures such as eliminating fees for carry permits and campus carry.

      https://gunowners.org/goa-tfa-host-constitutional-carry-lobby-day-in-nashville-march-10th/

  3. avatar I Haz A Question says:

    Anyone else notice that the article’s first photo at the top shows an ID card displaying the name “JOHN”, but the face of a woman? Is this supposed to be an official example card from the State of Illinois, or someone’s attempt to present it as such? Credibility matters.

    1. avatar Sigiloso says:

      That’s Rep. Kathleen Willis, the “brain” behind SB1966……

    2. avatar bryan1980 says:

      Sure that’s a woman? 🙂

      1. avatar Southern Cross says:

        Looks like Jonn Candy in a dress.

    3. avatar RGP says:

      No, all I saw was an ID card with a dangerous looking beast on it.

  4. avatar The Rookie says:

    Whoa, is that Jan Terri?

  5. avatar NORDNEG says:

    The legislature in my state does the same thing, they raid programs like the gas tax that’s supposed to be for road improvements & such to raiding the tax on The program sportsman relies upon to take care of the game people hunt, etc… never do they pay back the money they take for their pet projects, they just raise taxes on the people. All politicians are the same when it comes to boondoggles.

  6. avatar Andrew Lias says:

    The Republicans should add a rider to this that any money collected via FOID programs should be spent as allocated and there should be jail time for anyone who diverts funding around it.

    With as much money as they pissed away we should be getting FOID Cards and CC Permits through in a fraction of the time. Also the hold times and glitches around actually getting background checks done should be non existent.

    1. I agree wholeheartedly Andrew, I’ve had a FOID card since it’s inception for some 50 odd years, and a CCW permit for last 6 years. My question for the State Police and our Legislators would be why does one have to go through all the background and BS when you already have valid permits and have no infractions on your record.

    2. avatar Someone says:

      There should be no FOID card at all. Which other constitutionally protected human right’s exercise requires a hall pass from the state police up front?

      1. avatar frank speak says:

        how did this nutty scheme ever get started?…

    3. avatar Robert says:

      Former Md. Governor Martin O’Malley [Democrat] pulled the same revenue diversion cra* on us. He increased automotive license fees, road & bridge tolls, and other $ to fund upgrades and repairs on or roads. — OOPS! — No highway improvements.

  7. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    Imagine a slight change:

    Illinois SB 1966 is a draconian bill that will increase Firearms Owner VOTER ID card fees, require mandatory fingerprinting (at gun owner’s VOTER’S expense), and make the FOID VOTER ID card valid for only 5 years instead of 10. You MUST have one of these cards in the Land of Lincoln to legally posses a firearm VOTE

    Democrats would burn down the entire state.

    1. avatar Phil says:

      We would still have this if the Supreme Court did not rule on the “Poll Tax”. How FOID can be legal and Poll Tax not is beyond me. Personally I would attach fees to all of the BOR at least make it uniform.

      1. avatar Hannibal says:

        The poll tax was found Constitutional by the court in the 30s only to be made impermissible by Constitutional Amendment in the 60s.

    2. avatar rt66paul says:

      But, how would all those dead people vote? How could they get voter ID cards without having any money? A dead person can’t have an active Social Security Card and/or number. (/sarc)

  8. avatar former water walker says:

    I hate ILL inoise. Hoping to move east when the Mrs. gets her gubmint cheque. FOID will be the least of our worries with an “officially” bankrupt state. SEE: Detroit😖

    1. avatar FormerParatrooper says:

      I am out once my Granddaughter has graduated HS. I am only here because of House Six is native Illini and wanted to stay close to family.

  9. avatar Ginder12 says:

    The state should take money from miss piggys food allowance.

    1. avatar Miss Piggy says:

      I resent being compared to this ‘lady’.

  10. avatar Over it says:

    She is also the biggest doughnut grabber in Illinois. ANYONE that owns a firearm and votes Democrat can only blame themselves!

  11. avatar Hannibal says:

    “During the same hearing, the Illinois State Police tried to justify the slow processing by claiming that Illinois gun owners just aren’t paying enough to the state…”

    That’s what taxes are for. Imagine if the government told a newspaper it had to shut down because the local censorship bureau hadn’t gotten enough money to read all the stories that week.

  12. avatar AverageJoe says:

    Someone please throw that pig an ear of corn!

    1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

      she wants a buccaneer tax.

  13. avatar sound awake says:

    illinois is the titanic
    the progressive income tax this fall will be the iceberg
    all the other stuff like guns and gays and genders is the rearranging the deckchairs
    and history does in fact repeat:
    there wont be enough lifeboats…especially if you own real estate
    get off this ship while you can before it goes to the bottom

  14. avatar mack says:

    Yo, Al Ronan! Haven’t you been delivering envelopes full of cash to these stalwart public servants? (On the actual floor of the General Assembly, as you did back in the early nineties?) They obviously are not taking their legislative responsibilities seriously, so get them their dough..okay?

  15. avatar james giacomi says:

    ive have been waiting 7 months for my concealment permit ill. took my money and no card 7 months its total ludrercriss this state is going under what a crying shame.

  16. avatar grumpster says:

    Looks like she should be banned from owning forks, spoons, and a feed bag.

  17. avatar Robert says:

    This sounds a lot like MARYLAND’s HQL [Handgun Qualification License.]
    it allows you to buy 1 handgun a month (maximum). It DOES NOT allow you to carry it, just buy it.
    Now the State legislature is taking another liberty. [THEIRS, NOT YOURS.] They are now pushing for a LONG GUN QUALIFICATION LICENSE!
    To add insult to injury, they also are pushing for REGISTRATION with the STATE POLICE of ALL AR platform guns (rifles or pistols), and ANY gun capable of firing .223 or .308 even legally purchased. EACH GUN (NOT OWNER) MUST BE REGISTERED BY OCT 1, 2020, at a fee of over $300 PER GUN! [If not done, fees go up to $1,000 per gun, followed by CRIMINAL penalties.]
    So, if I legally bought an AR-15 in the 1970’s, an M-1A in the 1980’s, and a Mini 14 in the 1990’s, AND I have been shooting target competition with them ever since, I would STILL have to register them again at a cost to me of $1,000 – $3,000. [and this doesn’t even take into account any bolt-action guns shooting .308 or .223 which I may have bought!]
    SIEG HEIL, MARYLAND!

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