If you're thinking of applying for, or renewing, an Illinois Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card, the Illinois House passed a bill Saturday that would make fingerprints a requirement when you do, but changes may happen in the Illinois Senate.

We've been talking for a long while now about the huge backlog of first-time applications and renewals for Illinois' FOID card, and the many Illinoisans who've been waiting for months and months to receive their cards. Some have claimed to still be waiting after a year, and I've personally spoken with several people who have been waiting for 6 to 9 months. I also talked with a guy last week who got his card back two weeks after sending it, so go figure.

Illinois House Bill 1091 (HB-1091), which has several "working titles," like the Fix The FOID bill, and the Block Illegal Ownership bill, passed the Illinois House in a 60-50 vote.

When the push to "Fix the FOID" was first started, the goal at the time was to figure out a way to speed up the process of getting the FOID cards out to people who had successfully done their part in sending in an application. The Illinois State Police and legal gun owners were all for the legislature doing something to move things along.

However, HB-1091 has some added components that have gotten the attention of both pro-gun and anti-gun groups. For one thing, there's the fingerprint requirement. If HB-1091 is signed into law as it's written right now, FOID card and CCL card applicants would be required to submit their fingerprints as part of the original application and/or renewal process.

And, the bill would require all gun sales, even between family members, to be done with a federally licensed gun dealer in order for background checks to be conducted on all gun purchases and transfers.

As the bill works its way next through the Illinois Senate, there is some talk of amending the fingerprint requirement. A possible Senate version would still require fingerprinting, but in exchange for that, the renewal process would be automatic instead of requiring another application to be sent in. The other notable change on the House bill is the cost of the card and the length of time it's valid. Currently, it's a $10 fee for 10 years, but HB1091 changes that to $20 for 5 years.

I really don't see how any of these changes are going to break the FOID card logjam down in Springfield, but with the constitutionality of the FOID card itself heading to the Illinois Supreme Court, it may not matter in the long run.

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