Image via Boch. Used with permission.
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Illinois law mandates that the Illinois State Police administer the Prairie State’s gun control licensing schemes, including the much-hated Firearms Owners ID cards as well as concealed carry licensing.  Even before China flu hit last year, the ISP struggled to keep up with applications and renewals.  After the COVID lockdowns began, and especially after last summer’s widespread “mostly peaceful” riots and looting, our fearless state police fell impossibly behind.

The Land of Lincoln’s FOID Act allows ISP 30 days to process new Firearm Owner ID card applications.  With a few limited exceptions, these cards are required for anyone to handle, purchase or possess firearms or ammunition – legally.   In other words, if one wants to exercise their Second Amendment rights in Illinois, one must first pay $11 and wait for the government to send them a permission slip/card.

Meanwhile, the legislature has swept tens of millions of dollars from the budget of the ISP division that handles firearms licensing schemes – the Firearms Services Bureau – leaving them very short staffed.  Unable to comply with the rule of law, the agency sought and received an emergency exemption from the state’s rule-making body, the legislature’s Joint Commission for Administrative Rulemaking (JCAR) committee.

The new rule allows the ISP up to 18 months after the governor declares an end to COVID emergency to process FOID and CCW applications and renewals. That clock hasn’t even started ticking yet.

To their credit, the ISP’s FSB has prioritized new FOID applications. On the other hand, those with existing FOID cards now face even longer waits for renewals. The law says the ISP is supposed to process FOID renewals in 60 business days, or nearly three calendar months.

Today, it’s not uncommon for people to wait six to twelve months for their FOID renewals.  And sometimes much longer. Tens of thousands of other Prairie State gun owners have experienced waits of over a year for their FOID renewals.

Image via Illinois State Police.

Many downstate State Representatives and Senators report that the single biggest constituent service they provide is nudging the ISP to check on the progress of FOID applications and renewals for gun owners.

I sent off my FOID card renewal application in the first week of March 2020. As of this writing — 16-plus months later — I still don’t have a valid FOID card, at least on its face.

Under the emergency rules, my expiration is “COVID-19” in state computers so it is considered valid by the state. Even though the card I formerly carried indicates an expiration date of June 2020.

If I didn’t have a valid carry license (which can be used like a FOID card to purchase firearms and ammunition in Illinois), I could not purchase ammo or firearms at retailers if I couldn’t prove to their satisfaction that I’d applied for the renewal under the COVID emergency rules.

Without a carry license, some retailers including many of the big box stores will not honor a FOID card that’s not showing ‘valid’ on its face regardless of whether or not a person presents proof that they’ve applied for a renewal.

Some people have asked me, “Don’t you know people?” I do. But I’m intentionally not asking for special attention because I want to see what it’s like for people who don’t have contacts within the ISP and the ISP’s Firearms Services Bureau.

Sadly, what I’ve seen isn’t pretty. I’ve talked with people who submitted applications for renewals even before COVID hit who continue to wait for a new issuance.

But waiting 16-plus months and counting for a FOID renewal could be worse. Ask Michelle.

You thought your driver’s license picture was terrible?

So, you think your driver’s license picture doesn’t flatter you? Imagine what Michelle thought when she saw hers . . .

Image via Boch. Used with permission.

After waiting since August 2020 for her FOID renewal, Michelle Ann (last name redacted) finally received it in the mail towards the end of May. Michelle looked at her new FOID card and about cried.

The image on her FOID card — the gun license she waited over nine months to receive — was distinctly unflattering. It wasn’t even her. The signature isn’t hers either.

Unlike most I’ve heard from, Michelle’s case had a happy ending. The red-faced state employees at ISP-FSB processed her complaint and sent out a new FOID card within a couple of weeks. And they didn’t even demand that she return the faulty card first. Give them credit for that.

Most victims of license issuance errors aren’t so fortunate.

One would think the employees at the state’s firearm licensing office would double- and triple-check their work before sending these documents to the law-abiding folks they serve. Yes, we’re all human and make mistakes, but it isn’t like the Firearm Services Bureau are rushing these licenses out within a few days of receiving them.

Sadly, Illinois concealed carry applicants also face problems. Yes, they have the right pictures (in most cases), but see if you can spot the problem with this card…

Image via Boch. Used with permission.

Janie’s original carry license expired last June. She applied for her renewal months early last year. Finally at the end of March, 2021 the ISP Firearm Services Bureau sent her a new license.

The license they issued on March 29, 2021 came with an expiration date of June 5, 2020.  It should have read 3/29/2026.

I contacted my favorite lieutenant at the Illinois State Police back in April about this. Lt. John Thompson serves as the legislative liaison to the General Assembly and its members.

I offered to forget about the incident if they could make this right while I dealt with some personal issues for a few weeks following my mom’s death. That didn’t happen. Instead, they threw up new roadblocks for Janie to negotiate.

Unlike Michelle’s FOID case above, Janie still hasn’t received her valid carry license…three months later.

Just a one-off, you say?

Image by Boch.

Poor James, aka “Jaques” from Joliet doesn’t think so. The ISP issued his carry license renewal card on January 13, 2021 and it shows and expiration date more than a year earlier, November 24, 2019. As of June 2021 he carries his “new” license, still attached to the letter from ISP, as he waits for them to issue a corrected card.

These are but a few cases that have been reported to me in my role with Guns Save Life.  Most folks don’t want to draw attention to themselves and risk the wrath of a faceless bureaucrat working behind stone walls and armed guards at the fortress-like Illinois State Police headquarters in Springfield.

Image via Illinois State Police.

In fairness, I’ve met plenty of outstanding people who work for and/or retired from the Illinois State Police. Heck, I even helped one move his family to Philo, Illinois, the center of the universe (as it says right there on their water tower). I haven’t met an obnoxious sworn officer yet.

As for the people working at the Firearms Services Bureau — both sworn state troopers and unsworn desk jockeys — they have, without exception, shown themselves to be as courteous, competent, helpful, and decent people in my interactions with them.

We shouldn’t blame decent people trying to make this flawed FOID scheme work.

Instead, Illinois should repeal the failed FOID Act which only hobbles the law-abiding.

Do you think any of the violent criminals and gang members (but I repeat myself) in Chicago who are responsible for 22 killed and 90 maimed over the Independence Day holiday weekend had FOID cards? Outside of the one CCW holder who shot down a would-be mass killer on the evening of Independence Day in the cesspool of Lori Lightfoot’s Murder City, USA, if you believe they had FOID cards, you’re either a fool or a partisan hack.

As for the Land of Lincoln’s notorious carry license scheme that disenfranchises the poor with its needless costs, in a fair world that didn’t discriminate against the less fortunate and people of color, that law would face the scrap heap as well.

With the onerous 16-hour training requirement (and its costs), along with the outrageous application fees ($153 and change every five years), poor folks simply can’t afford to exercise a fundamental constitutional right. Many of the working poor are similarly excluded. Imagine the hue and cry from those same politicos who support gun control if we enacted a 16-hour training requirement and licensing scheme to vote.

Nearly half the nation now has constitutional carry.  In other words, anyone who can legally possess firearms can carry one for self-defense without any special license.

Rest assured, if “permitless” concealed carry caused even a speck of blood in the streets, our legacy media and their steadfast opposition to civilian firearm rights would be all over it. Constitutional carry isn’t a problem and there are no problems in the states that practice it.

At the same time, as an Illinois resident, I can report with authority that our state does one thing exceptionally well: giving residents reasons to move out of Abe Lincoln’s home state.

Lastly, the Illinois State Police haven’t responded to a request for comment on the processing problems we submitted Tuesday afternoon. We’re not holding our breath.

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      • It was ruled unconstitutional for a second time for Vivian Brown and her alone. The IL Supreme Court is hearing the state’s appeal.

        Our case (as Guns Save Life) has been stayed while that happens.

  1. Well Boch I got my FOID renewal in 2weeks soup to nuts. Couldn’t navigate the horrible ISP site at home or the library so I used Pelchers in Lansing,IL. For $25 they did the whole thing not including $11. And they used my drivers license pic so whyft did I need a new pic??? Hopefully the last one as we’re exploring moving east after my wife gets her SS. YMMV. I hate ILL

    • If Pelchers is your local FFL, have you considered moving to IN?

      Great store, great people, I didn’t know they could help with that though.

  2. Just Remember Boys and Girls: The Bureaucracy Complex with it’s Nameless, Faceless Acolytes. Following Procedure, latest Regulatory Edict, Redefinition or Backlog(sic) is the Most dangerous Threat to the Freedom and Liberties of “We the People”. Unlike Laws. What happens within a Bureaucracy is accomplished without Citizen Oversight in the Maze of Government. Which has been the objective by those in Power who Control the who, what, when, where and even if much of Our lives evolves around. All they require is 2 or 3 generations who are willing to Cede Freedoms they never understood, because they were never educated about. Then convinced those very Freedoms are Racist or White Privilege and that the Nation they live in is something to be ashamed of. After they’ve Indoctrinated enough Acolytes thru the Manipulation of the Education System to follow their Dogma. They take control of the Media and the Internet as a weapon to Dictate what is presented as News and Silence all Dissent. The Internet is used in much the same way along with an added layer.
    After Control of Social Media has been Accomplished they use it as a Weapon to Destroy those who voice anything differnt from or opposition to the Prescribed Dogma. Now comes the Insidious Part. Now that they have several Generations devoted their Dogma, they convince them that for the Betterment and Safety of Their Society. They should find some way to Report anyone they suspect of being an Extremist as defined under the Dogma. Say maybe Facebook. Just Sayin. With these Parts of Society duly Indoctrinated and Controlled. At this point you would think those citizens whose live had been destroyed along with supporters and like minded People would Stand Up against the the Tyrannical manifestation before their eyes, but no. They have busy lives, besides the Government is to Big and It Can’t get that Bad… Much can be learned from all this. The Very same thing happened to the Jews as well as German Society. With a few Modernization tossed in. Yet still what happened then is happening now. How “We the People” move forward will say a lot about what kind of people they are or were. depending on who gets to Write the History. And the Victor Write the History…Keep Your Powder Dry.

  3. 11 months, 2 weeks and 3 days for my renewal on the FOID.

    I submitted my CC renewal June 2020. Haven’t taken the 3hr yet so they are not doing anything until I do. I asked a State Trooper to run a check for me on my CC and he said it shows the Covid extension.

    I am not an Illinois native, I yearn to leave soon as the granddaughter is older and the in laws relent to move with us.

  4. “Under the emergency rules, my expiration is ‘COVID-19’ in state computers so it is considered valid by the state. Even though the card I formerly carried indicates an expiration date of June 2020.”

    doesn’t sound like they’re using it to oppress anyone, sounds like they’re being reasonable.

    “Just a one-off, you say?”

    now many cards issue successfully, as opposed to how many cards don’t?

    • Reasonable? Flexiable? I agree. My FOID expired 02/2021. I applied for renewal 03/2021. Reissued 04/21 til 04/31. One month wait. Will admit to it being a real SOB to reapply via mobile. Had to use desktop in tandem with mobile to make it accept. I used a copy of my DL ID mug, maybe that helped.

  5. It’s turned into actual malice here in Florida.

    We used to have an excellent permitting system overseen by Secretary of Agriculture Adam Putman, but he exited politics a few years back. (His family is *big* in agriculture in central Florida, so it makes sense.)

    He was replaced by a Democrat, ‘Nikki’ Fried, who is a real piece of work. It used to take only two weeks from application submitting to licence-in-hand, but it is now taking every last bit of time the law allows (currently 90 days approval, plus 15 days ‘processing’).

    That’s what you get when you elect Democrats… 🙁

  6. Il gov’t is incompetent (and corrupt). News at 11.

    Why the competition to be the LAST rat to leave that cesspool? Get a UHaul and LEAVE.

    Or form a new state of South Illinois.

  7. I just can’t wrap my head around this FOID business, or the many other obstacles erected by what can only be described as totalitarian governing bodies.

    Honestly, how do ya’ll stand it? Is living under the thumb of dictators like this so wonderful that you can’t bring yourselves to either throw them out or escape? What keeps you there? Is it wealth? The tranquility of servitude? What is it?

    • everything from feijoada to fresh water. quite a bit of the latter, if you like that sort of thing. high standard of living. if you’re frugal you can really sock it away.
      of course three other states have lake michigan borders as well.
      truly a helluva place to succeed and subsequently abandon. ask my landscaping friends who retire to guanajato in near luxury.

    • Well for starters, I was born and raised here as well as my wife. We raised all our kids here. I also own a small farm and have a great job here. This is my home, no p.o.s. politician will ever run me out of my own home. Not all of Illinois is like Chicago or East St. Louis. I don’t care where you live, eventually there will be nowhere else to run to as the big cities in every damn state will become impossible to out vote. I will stand right here, on my own ground that I have dedicated my whole life to, and fight for everyone’s freedoms.

  8. My wife and I submitted our re-renewal for CCL to ISP end of Mar. 2020. It was the next week IL Gov. JB locked everything down. The state charged our credit card 4/20, as of 7/7/21 no word or mail on the new CCL card.

  9. The occupants of most powerful political positions in IL hate you. They virulently hate you because you want to own a gun. They don’t care about the law, your rights, nothing but their hate for you is important. As a result this problem with IL that has gone on for years will continue far into the future.

  10. This state has democrat party rule since before I was born. Somehow they find a Way to blame everything but trash Marxist socialist policy’ for all the problems in the state. Lousy schools, can’t pay the pensions, runaway gang violence. The cause must be law abiding gun owners or not enough money taken from those who actually work,or maybe it’s because of a virus. The virus is democrat policy.

  11. What’s Illinois’ problem? We don’t have any of these problems in TX. Must be the commie/socialist govt of IL.

  12. I used to live in Illinois. Had both FOID and Concealed Carry. Took 6 months to get the CC card.

    Moved to Texas, thank God. Applied for LIT (License to Carry) and got it in just two weeks. No more Illinois BS!


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