State Faces Multiple Lawsuits Over CCL/FOID Card Delays
The Illinois State Police say the average time for FOID (Firearm Owners Identification) card processing is 116.35 days. FOID cards are supposed to be processed within 30 days.
For CCL (Concealed Carry Licenses) with fingerprints to go with the applications, ISP said the average time is 129.9 days. Without fingerprints with the application, it's 154.19 days.
I think most people have come to expect that there are going to be delays with many things due to the pandemic, but for those who've done their part in filling out their paperwork, completing their training, having their photos taken, and paying their money to the state--the delays in getting their cards have gotten ridiculous.
I've talked with several people who are still waiting for their FOID cards, and they've told me that because of the continuing stall in getting their proper documentation, they've been unable to purchase guns and/or ammunition. The Illinois State Police (ISP) filed an emergency rule earlier in the year to make expired cards valid during the pandemic and for 12 months after, but it seems that some retailers will not accept an expired FOID card, regardless of the emergency rule.
Those who are applying for a FOID card for the first time don't even have an expired card to work with, assuming a retailer would accept it if they did.
Those conditions have prompted about a dozen active lawsuits against the State of Illinois, including one filed in federal court by the Illinois State Rifle Association.
Center Square Illinois:
ISRA Executive Director Richard Pearson said it's been months for some and "a right delayed is a right denied."
"This is a right, whether people like it or not," he said. "It's in the Bill of Rights and it is a fundamental right and you're denying these people their fundamental rights because you're delaying them."
State Rep. Dan Caulkins, R-Decatur, said the backlog has been compounded by the pandemic and it's denying people their rights.
"[ISP] can't meet their constitutional, and I say the United State's constitution, they can't meet their requirements," Caulkins said.
The Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights says in part "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."
In January, about 62,000 applications backlogged with some people waiting eight months or longer. Six months later, officials reported nearly 64,000 backlogged applications. As of one week ago, the Illinois State Police reported 142,324 pending FOID applications.