Imagine being denied your Second Amendment rights because state government bureaucrats claim you have a criminal conviction in your past. Yet at the same time, local government officials remain unable to produce any supporting documentation to back up their claims. They claim any such records likely were “destroyed.”
That’s the position in which a Guns Save Life member finds himself.
And today, Guns Save Life filed suit in Illinois Circuit Court to put an end to the state’s FOID Act and its unconstitutional infringements on the rights of not only Illinois residents, but those of out of state visitors as well.
Here’s an excerpt from the complaint:
…The disarmament of two Guns Save Life members illustrates just how thoroughly the FOID Act infringes on that right. Harold Meyer, a 74-year-old Guns Save Life member and resident of Cook County, has never been charged with or convicted of any crime, subject to any protective order, or diagnosed with or treated for any mental illness. He used to enjoy target shooting once a week and possessed firearms for that purpose, and he kept those firearms for self-defense in the home. In compliance with Illinois law, he also held a FOID card. Recently, when that card was set to expire, he dutifully applied to renew it. But in a January 29, 2019 letter, the State police denied his application, and revoked his FOID card, on the ground that Mr. Meyer had been convicted of battery in Cook County in 1983. Lee Letter from Ill. State Police, Firearm Servs. Bureau, to Hardold Meyer (Jan. 29, 2019) (“Exhibit C”). Apparently the police did not notice this conviction when Mr. Meyer had first applied for a FOID card. The reason is simple: Mr. Meyer has no such conviction. Nevertheless, the letter instructed him to surrender his FOID card, to dispossess himself of his firearms, and to complete a Firearm Disposition Record disclosing the make, model and serial numbers of his firearms and what he had done with them – all within 48 hours. See id. Mr. Meyer complied, transferring his firearms to his wife (who has a FOID card) and travelling [sic] to the police station to document the transfer and to surrender his FOID card. He also requested a record of his supposed conviction from the Circuit Court of Cook Cook County. But in a February 27, 2019 letter, the Clerk of the Court indicated that the record could not be found and likely had been destroyed. See Letter from Dorothy Brown, Clerk of the Circuit Court of Coook Cty., to Harold Meyer (Feb. 27, 2019) (“Exhibit D”). Thus, the FOID Act has allowed a police error to deprive Mr. Meyer entirely of a constitutional right.
The suit seeks for four remedies for this infringement. It seeks a declaratory judgement ruling the FOID Act violates the Second and Fourteenth Amendments. It asks for a preliminary and permanent injunction stopping the FOID Act’s enforcement. Additionally, the suit seeks costs of filing the suit and any other relief the court deems just and appropriate.
Here’s a press release from Guns Save Life . . .
Guns Save Life Challenges Illinois’s FOID Act with NRA Support
With the support of the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action, Guns Save Life filed a lawsuit today in Illinois state court challenging the state’s Firearm Owner’s Identification Card (FOID) Act.
The FOID Act requires individuals to pass an extended background check, provide a photo, and pay a fee before being granted government permission to possess a firearm in their own home. Illinois gun owners must pay a fee and renew their FOID card every 10 years. If the card is stolen, gun owners are forced to jump through additional hoops and are burdened with more fees to exercise their constitutional right to self-protection.
The case of one Guns Save Life member shows how drastically the FOID Act infringes on that right. In compliance with the Act, the member recently sought to renew his FOID card. But the police denied his application and revoked his card, claiming to have suddenly found a battery conviction in his record. He has no such conviction, and the courts have no record of one. Nevertheless, because he no longer had a FOID card, he was forced to disarm.
“Something is very wrong with a law that causes a law-abiding Illinois resident to dispossess himself of his firearms because of a government recordkeeping error,” said John Boch, executive director of Guns Save Life. “This episode should reveal to everyone the FOID Act’s basic unconstitutionality.”
But efforts are underway in the Illinois legislature to raise the costs of FOID cards. With the help of the NRA, Guns Save Life seeks to end once and for all this infringement on the constitutional rights of the law-abiding gun owners of Illinois.
And this one from the NRA-ILA:
Fairfax, Va. – The National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) today announced its support for a lawsuit challenging Illinois’s Firearm Owners Identification Card (FOID) Act. The lawsuit was brought by Guns Save Life, an organization dedicated to defending the Second Amendment rights of Illinois residents.
“The Illinois FOID Act infringes on law-abiding citizens’ fundamental right to self-protection,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director of NRA-ILA.
The FOID Act requires individuals to pass an extended background check, provide a photo, and pay a fee before being granted government permission to possess a firearm in their own home. Illinois gun owners must pay a fee and renew their FOID cards every 10 years. If the cards are stolen, the gun owner is forced to jump through additional hoops and burdened with more fees to exercise their constitutional right to self-protection.
The case of one Guns Save Life member, mentioned in organization’s complaint, shows how drastically the FOID Act infringes on that right. In compliance with the Act, the member recently sought to renew his FOID card. But the police denied his application and revoked his card, claiming to have suddenly found a battery conviction in his record. He has no such conviction, and the courts have no record of one. Nevertheless, because he no longer had a FOID card, he was forced to disarm.
“You shouldn’t need government permission to exercise a constitutional right, “ continued Cox. “The men and women of the National Rifle Association are pleased to join Guns Save Life in this fight to protect the rights of a distinguished combat veteran and all of the law-abiding gun owners in the great state of Illinois.”
Established in 1871, the National Rifle Association is America’s oldest civil rights and sportsmen’s group. More than five million members strong, NRA continues to uphold the Second Amendment and advocates enforcement of existing laws against violent offenders to reduce crime. The Association remains the nation’s leader in firearm education and training for law-abiding gun owners, law enforcement and the armed services. Be sure to follow the NRA on Facebook at NRA on Facebook and Twitter @NRA.
Obviously, this suit has the potential to send massive shockwaves through not only the state of Illinois, but nationally – especially for those states with similar unconstitutional licensing requirements for gun owners.
In talking with our own John Boch today, he expressed gratitude to the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action for their support. He also tipped his hat to Todd Vandermyde, the NRA-ILA’s former contract lobbyist in the Land of Lincoln, without whose help, this would not have been possible.
Watch this space.