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“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.

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  1. “…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…”

    That’s a specious argument, because you can’t endanger people with the press, right? Well, except for that whole “NBC edits a 911 tape to make George Zimmerman look like racist, thus inflaming a bunch of people to call for vigilante justice.” But he was never in any real danger, was he?

  2. Don’t forget that the state legislature is seriously considering Chicago mayor Emanuel’s push to impose an annual per gun registration fee statewide.

    To illustrate how screwed up their priorities are and that the contagion is spreading from Chicago:
    About 5 years ago a family member’s house was burglarized. Nothing major was taken, but in rural Illinois cops will still come take a report. When the deputy showed up, he spotted an old single shot 12 gauge that was kept around for varmints. At that point he lost all interest in the burglary and began asking if my relative had his FOID, demanding to see it immediately. He was quite disappointed when it was produced, and proceeded to fill out the rest of the burglary report.

  3. If the 2nd Amendment is a nightclub, the FOID system is a scary Russian dude guarding the door. You don’t get in without going through Ivan, and he takes 56 days to check you out.He’s legally supposed to do it in 30, but Ivan’s a big guy, you understand. In Soviet Illinois, Government limit your rights, not other way round.

  4. Based on the stooges that Illinois in general and Chicago in particular elect year after year, I’m willing to bet that the average denizen of Chicago couldn’t qualify for a library card, much less a Firearms Owner Identification Card.

  5. I have to take issue with TTAGs editorial policies, both in articles (this one to be used as an example, no offense to BK who does excellent work) and in comments sections.

    Quoted from the above article:
    “So the law’s supporters are now reduced to simply making $hit up now.”

    What is it with the self-censoring around here? You’re thinking “shit” when you write it, I’m thinking “shit” when I read it, why are we blocking out dirty words? We’re all adults here, right? This isn’t some third-grade Weekly Reader.

    If we’re going to pretend that we’re just so dignified and refined that such words never pass our lips (or fingers), then can we get a list of Ungood Words so that I can stop seeing things like “$hit” and “fvcking” being used by grown men?

    I’ve always been of the opinion that profanity, when used properly, adds a good deal of color, depth, and life to both the spoken and written word. If you want to have a standard of decency, then set one and stick to it. Don’t set one, but make it OK to skirt the decency standard by allowing childhood-level self-censoring.

      • Thos of us who use such anagrams do so to avoid the filters that many sites use to screen out the naughty words.

        And if you don’t like it, go f^q y0^r$elf. 😉

  6. So, if the audit shows that the Illinois FOID system is not working (and possibly never has), the government in Illinois will now offer explanations to account for why it does not (and possibly never has) work(ed), and strive diligently to correct those failures. This will surely help us understand how “sensible regulations” of firearms ownership by ordinary Citizens, as recommended by Gun Control Advocates, will make U.S. Society safer and keep guns out of the hands of criminals, the mentally ill and other ineligible persons.

    Oh, boy! I cannot wait for that shit!

  7. That sort of is the problem with government gun control involving registration and licensing, usually the Soviet Bureaucracy is inept and incompetent and just gets in the way ( deliberate or otherwise ) of the average citizen owning a gun. Since the criminal element operates outside the sphere of the Soviet, they are given free reign of the situation.

  8. I’ve held a FOID card for about 20 years now. The application that I first used in the early 90’s asked you to attach your own picture and answer a handful of questions along the lines of “are you mentally ill” yes or no. The DWV wouldn’t take it as a valid form of ID since people would get FOIDs with photos of monkeys and chimps. Nowadays, they still ask the same dumb questions, but the use your license picture instead. There is nothing from preventing anyone from answering those questions however they like.

  9. Bruce, you can’t even write one paragraph with a straight-up and truthful argument. The FOID card, like any ID is not used to identify those who don’t qualify for it. No one says that. ID cards are used to identify those who hold them. This kind of arguing is the meat-and-potatoes of the gun-rights movement. Like so many others, “criminals don’t obey the laws” is probably the most used, you guys keep pretending we preach things that we actually don’t and then you get up on your high horse and argue against them. The more I read you guys the more I realize why you prefer the closed echo-chamber discussions. I also realize how much you need a guy like me around here to call you on this stuff. You’re very welcome.

  10. Funny, but the FOID worked as intended on my family. We didn’t become gun owners until we moved to Missouri. Huh, imagine that.

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