Illinois State Police Director Wants FOID Fee Increase While Legislature Siphons Off Millions in Gun Owners’ Money

Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly

Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File)

As we’ve reported, the state of Illinois has siphoned off tens of millions of dollars of revenue from the Illinois State Police that was designated to fund the processing of firearms owners ID cards and concealed carry licenses. That money was diverted from its authorized use to into other parts of the Land of Lincoln’s virtually bankrupt state government.

As a result, gun buyers and firearm owners face ridiculous delays in getting their applications and renewals processed while the ISP claims cries about being understaffed. The Second Amendment Foundation, Illinois State Rifle Association and others are suing the Illinois State Police over the rights-violating delays.

Now, on the Valentine’s Day anniversary of last year’s shooting at the Henry Pratt Company — a crime carried out by a felon to whom the ISP issued a FOID card — Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly has the big brass ones temerity to express support for a bill that would…you guessed it…increase the fees the state charges gun owners for FOID cards.

  • charge gun owners millions in fees to exercise their Second Amendment rights
  • divert half to three-quarters of the authorized revenue for other purposes
  • understaff the bureaucracy that processes the license applications
  • issue permits to felons and make law-abiding applicants wait months
  • then cry poor and advocate charging gun owners…higher fees!

That’s a nice racket if you’re the one running it.

Here’s the AP’s John O’Connor’s report . . .

In the year since five workers died in a suburban Chicago warehouse shooting, state officials have beefed up illegal firearms enforcement efforts, including the first-ever operations by state authorities to confiscate weapons from those whose gun permits are invalid, Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly said Thursday.

Kelly’s briefing at the state Capitol to commemorate the Feb. 15, 2019 shooting at the Henry Pratt Co. also came with an alert: Increased vigilance of illegal gun possession comes with a price that exceeds current spending. He advocated legislation pending in the Senate that would increase the Firearm Owner’s Identification card fee and require fingerprinting of gun owners, a measure bitterly opposed by gun-rights advocates.

“We will be able to do a much more thorough, effective and quicker background check, even for law-abiding citizens, if we have that fingerprint,” Kelly said. “Now, as to the constitutionality and the policy and the politics of all that, that’s … an issue that citizens and policymakers and others will debate.”

Five Henry Pratt employees died and five responding police officers were injured when 45-year-old Gary Martin opened fired a year ago in the warehouse just after he was told that he was fired from is workplace of 15 years.

Martin should not been allowed to have a gun. He was convicted in 1995 of felony aggravated battery in Mississippi, prohibiting his gun ownership. But the conviction was not included on key national databases and Martin obtained the handgun he used in Aurora in 2014. The state police discovered the discrepancy — through the fingerprints he submitted in an effort to get a concealed-carry permit — and revoked Martin’s FOID card later that year. But the state police only generated a letter advising Martin to surrender his guns, which he apparently ignored.

Since the shooting, Kelly noted improved digital links with local law enforcement agencies and asserted thgat 90% of new FOID applications — 300,000 in the past year — were processed within the required 30-day limit, but at a cost of 14,000 hours of overtime. He also noted over 200 operations in which state officials visited and collected guns from people who no longer are allowed to have firearms.

But Kelly said it’s not enough. The department needs more firearms analysts, technology to deal with an increasing amount of information that could raise red flags about gun owners, and programs, such as through grant funding, to bolster local police efforts. That requires additional funding, including more than the $3.6 million FOID card fees produce annually.

The Senate legislation would increase the 10-year, $10 FOID fee to $20 for five years, in addition to the other provisions.

Kelly acknowledged that over the years, $30 million in gun-permit fees has been diverted to other expenses, which the Illinois State Rifle Association points out in a lawsuit filed against the state police this month by taxpayers claiming they’ve waited since 2017 for gun-permit cards.

Richard Pearson, the rifle association presdent, said increased fees are “an inhibitor to a constitutional right.”

“The state police had $30 million that they didn’t spend” for the intended purpose, Pearson said. “Why give them any more money?”


  1. avatar RedFlagRising says:

    At least the police are on the side of freedom.

  2. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

    been waitin’ since october…

  3. avatar Jim Bullock says:

    Not to flog an expired equine here, but…

    – Sue them. Win or lose, it imposes a cost n peels off a few undecideds. Govt getting sued is a bad look for them. Every time it doesn’t get dismissed out of hand, they look like thugs. Again.

    – Steal their constituencies. Spin up direct assistance for whoever the diverted $ is supposed to help. It’s for enforcement toys? Great, go work directly w patrol officers n community precincts.

    – Ask the impertinent questions. More money for more info tech? So, what are u doing with declined apps now? False positives?

    – Speak the unspeakable. This is just a ban by other means; hoping nobody notices.

    It’s a PR game. First you win the argument, then you win the vote.

    1. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

      “– Sue them. ”

      A civil right delayed is a civil right denied. Demand your rights, under law…

    2. avatar Gary Moore says:

      The Illinois State police SCREWED UP, now that’s my fault ! All the RATS want to disarm the law abiding people. WHY ????? So they can do what the socialist in other countries have/are doing to there citizens. I don’t care who or what you are, and if your union tells you how to vote. We must all vote pro-gun, Join the N R A, Illinois Rifle Ass., Guns save lives. When the 2nd is gone so is the rest of our rights!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. avatar Moniker Vlad Crappes says:

    These people can do whatever the hell they wan’t. No accountability in the ruling class for anything.

  5. avatar Craig in IA says:

    Well, Illinois must siphon off some money from someone- their tax revenues don’t even cover the state’s pension obligations if I recall correctly. In the least, the lawsuit helps shine some light on the travesty against law-abiding people being fleeced by their government, but that seems SOP in many states. We must keep exposing these issues where it has a chance to do some good. It’s an uphill battle at best but it’s more effective than just complaining to other gun folk. Hope the groups mentioned can apply and keep up some pressure.

  6. avatar Manny A says:

    Body cams for elected officials. Biggest group of criminals in America.

    1. avatar guy says:

      I would pay to watch that.

      1. avatar enuf says:

        You already are paying to NOT watch it.

        We all are!

  7. avatar former water walker says:

    Golly HOW do other states with no FOID manage?!? Can’t wait to move east(tentatively next year after the wife gets her gubmint SS check). ILL is bankrupt. It’ll be fun when “we” go belly up😏

    1. avatar Jim Namalias says:

      Oh yes, we firearms owners here in Tennessee suffer grievously from the lack of an FOID. Why, we can’t be hassled at all at the state level when we buy a firearm. Issuance of a Handgun Carry Permit is based on “shall issue” and our permit is recognized in all but 11 other states (you know those states, I’m sure). We so much envy the fees and restrictions and laws levied by Illinois. And horrors(!), ammunition is an OTC commodity in Tennessee. Of course, we’re still subject to the hundreds of federal laws and restrictions; but oh, we pine away for more state control, restrictions, and taxes. Almost forgot, be sure, if you come to Tennessee, leave any liberal leanings towards big government control behind in Illinois. We absolutely don’t need it here.

      1. avatar Toni Smith says:

        first off, the last bit you wrote, ain’t a problem. I may be an aussie but I have been dead against these criminal laws we have and have been speaking out against them since they first started pushing them and I was only 15 when back then. Second I have been looking at machinist college courses in the US. Have not checked out what is available in Tennessee YET but I will be.

        1. avatar Chris in VA says:

          Dude, there are plenty of machine tool technology associates programs in the US and a growing number of CNC programming programs. My brother did both and he’s loving it. As a former engineer now in management, my advice to everyone is to learn a trade. Especially machining if you like firearms. Four-year degrees are worth far less in the long run.

        2. avatar Toni Smith says:

          Yes I am finding that. I just have to find a good one preferably with good coverage of both CNC and manual machining. As for it being especially good for those with a love of firearms, well that will be the next step for me. Gunsmithing is the trade I always wanted. Never been afraid to strip a gun right down to the smallest parts. Even honed the sears on my M95 Styer which was heavy (about 13lbs) and gritty. It is now still heavy (there is no way to be able to reduce the pull without also reducing the firing pin strike on the primer) but it breaks cleanly.

      2. avatar GunnyGene says:

        Have you heard of the recent Bill introduced in MS to form a “Interstate Compact on Second Amendment Sanctuary ? HB753 ;


        Do you reckon TN will sign up for it if it passes? It already has a signature line for TN, along with 7 other Southern States.

        1. avatar Toni Smith says:

          if that is as it seems to be to me then i hope pretty much most southern states sign it. Certainly cant see NY, CA, IL or sadly even FL signing it under the current state govts.

  8. avatar guy says:

    This is by far one of the worst things I have seen. They’re just taking advantage of the people trying to stay legal and with no repercussions. I hope this lawsuit works out for the people involved.

  9. avatar anarchyst says:

    The last three governors of “the great state of Illinois” are serving prison time.
    The whole state is corrupt to the core.
    From unfunded public pension obligations to outright corruption by state and local government officials, the time is ripe for the whole state administration to be indicted under RICO statutes.

  10. avatar Imayeti says:

    Poloticians see money like a junk yard dog sees a steak.

  11. avatar Chris T in KY says:

    The Democrats who run illinois are as morally degenerate as republican congressman Paul Ryan.

  12. avatar GS650G says:

    And they just shrug and look at us and say “what are you going to do about it?”

  13. avatar Tim says:

    Just in case you weren’t sure about leaving illinois.
    Rev 18:4. “Come out of her, my people…..”

  14. avatar StLPro2A says:

    Politicians see the Little Peeps money as belonging to the themselves to scim, scam, squander, and with which to buy votes. Give it up, yo Little Peeps.

  15. avatar MADDMAXX says:

    “‘WHAT A SHOCK” The government using funds for something other than its intended purpose…. Just like the Social Security Trust and the Federal Highway taxes we pay on every gallon of gas and diesel fuel that was intended for highway infrastructure but pissed away on PROGRAMS while they sit in D.C. and bitch about crumbling roads and bridges.. I paid an average of 2500 dollars a year in Fed Highway use taxes for over 20 years on my 18 wheeler while they spent the money on fancy new Airports and a big ass Fed courthouse overlooking Boston Harbor…. Just business as usual for those assholes…..

  16. avatar possum tracks says:

    If the U.S. government can regulate it, it will be taxed.

  17. avatar Roscoe says:

    Why I left the Democratic People’s Republic of IL in 2018

  18. 1. State Corruption!?!?
    2. Corrupt local/City/State Police?!?!
    3. Ill. Police Corruption…..
    4. Similar Licensing schemes to Massachusetts… (Re:Another corrupt police state
    under Demo – authoritarian control….)
    5. More Unconstitutional Diatribe…
    6. Most falsehoods about confiscation of arms and property from citizens without being charged with a real crime…Or Due Process…..
    7. Deprivation of Rights under color of law….
    8. Suppression of Rights under color of law….

  19. avatar Ed says:

    While they are at it, introduce a poll tax with a training, photo and fingerprint requirement to obtain a voter ID. They appear to be perfectly OK with taxing rights as profit centers.

    1. avatar Roscoe says:

      Oh no you cannot ask for ID at voting places in IL! It would prevent busses of people going around voting for these corrupt politicians ! I presented my drivers license once at a polling site and they were shocked. In Texas I have to present it. I welcome the day we succeed from the union! If we can’t build the southern wall, maybe we can build the Northern, western and eastern wall. My condolences for the friends I left behind enemy lines

  20. avatar Mike says:

    The entire state government in Illinois is corrupt. I left a long time ago.

  21. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    [Illinois State Police Director Brendan] Kelly’s briefing at the state Capitol … came with an alert: Increased vigilance of illegal gun possession comes with a price that exceeds current spending.

    Missing from the Associated Press article — the audio recording of Director Kelly while proof-reading his speech a few minutes before addressing the Illinois Senate:

  22. avatar Truckman says:

    why in the hell should have to pay to own a gun that the constitution gives you the right to own I know here you have to pay a small fee for a background check before you buy a gun but not no card saying you have the right to own one the only thing we have to pay for is license to carryone

    1. avatar Hannibal and the Elephants says:

      But the Constitution gives you a right to keep (read own) and bear (read carry) no one needs a permission slip beyond that faded piece of parchment to affirm ones rights to own AND carry arms (not just firearms). Heck, when before the ink on that parchment was dry it was common practice for commercial vessels to carry cannon (called NFA destructive devices today) for protection.
      As soon as we don’t need ID to exercise the rights enumerated in the Second Amendment shall I demand the same for voting rights.

  23. avatar Dumpster says:

    No comply

    Come and get some!!!

    556 waiting to blast off

  24. avatar Red says:

    Keep it up, Illinois. Your debt load is about to explode in your faces.

    Illinois citizens are voting with their feet. Try taxing them in another state.

    Idiots at wheel.

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