The average time for processing a FOID (Firearm Owner Identification) application in Illinois is 121 days, and the average time for a CCL (Concealed Carry License) is 145 days, according to Illinois State Police. It's supposed to be 30 days. 

We learned last week that one of the big reasons for the delays is demand for firearms permits and interest in purchasing guns are higher than they have ever been in the State of Illinois.

The FOID card first came into play here in Illinois back in 1968.  A law was passed that requires state residents who wish to legally have or buy ammunition in Illinois to acquire a Firearms Owners Identification card (FOID). Since that time, the Illinois State Police Firearms Services Bureau (FSB) has been tasked with administering FOID cards, concealed carry licenses (CCL), the Firearms Transfer Inquiry Program (FTIPS), gun dealer licensing, appeals, background correlations, investigative support, enforcement and customer service for the firearms safety laws of Illinois.

As you might imagine, that's a pretty big job for the ISP, especially when you consider all the other things that the state cops have to deal with. It was a lot to deal with back when it started, and it's grown in a major way this year.

When you consider that the number of Illinois FOID cardholders has grown from 1.2 million to 2.2 million in a decade, and that Illinois concealed carry license (CCL) holder numbers grew from 90,301 in 2014 to 343,299 in 2020, you can see where things can get jammed up.

What's behind the unprecedented surge in demand for guns and their required permitting? Illinois State police point to two factors: the coronavirus pandemic and civil unrest. Take a look at some of these numbers shared by the Illinois State Police:

  • FOID card applications increased 167 percent from 166,649 in 2017 to 445,945 as of November 2020, blowing past the small surge in 2013 when CCL was enacted.
  • Firearms Transfer Inquiry Program (FTIP) inquiries increased 45 percent from 2019 reaching 506,104 so far in 2020.

Thus far, and counting, the Illinois State Police have processed 216,805 FOID applications and 50,557 CCLs this year, and they've done so by working 17,000 hours of overtime. If sales numbers for guns even come close to where they're predicted to be, especially at Christmas time, don't be surprised to see these lengthy delays in processing last for a while.


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