Illinois: Tough on Guns, Soft on Crime
If you live in Illinois and want to own a firearm and ammunition, you have to possess a valid Firearm Owner’s Identification Card or FOID. The card is issued by the Illinois State Police. Governor J.B. Pritzker has said that the agency has busy been confiscating the cards from people who are no longer allowed to have one.
Just the News quotes Pritzker as saying: “This is very hard work. This is something that we’ve been at for the last four years to make sure we’re keeping people safe. Much more than ever before this is now happening. The ISP, frankly in dangerous circumstances sometimes, are having to go approach people to get their weapons because they no longer qualify to carry one.” Around 1000 people surrendered their cards and guns in September.
According to the state website, to be eligible for a FOID, the following criteria must apply:
- I have not been convicted of any Felony under the laws of this or any other jurisdiction.
- I have not been adjudicated as a mental defective.
- I have not been a patient in a mental institution or any part of a medical facility for the treatment of mental illness within the past 5 years.
- I am not intellectually disabled or developmentally disabled.
- I have not within the past year (preceding the date of this application) used or been addicted to any controlled substance or narcotics in violation of state or federal law.
- I am not subject of an existing Order of Protection or a No Contact/No Stalking Order.
- I have not within the past 5 years been convicted of battery, assault, aggravated assault, violation of an order of protection, or a substantially similar offense in which a firearm was used or possessed.
- I have not been convicted of domestic battery (felony or misdemeanor), aggravated domestic battery or a substantially similar offense.
- I have not been adjudicated by a court as a mental defective or ordered by a court, board or authorized entity to in-patient or out-patient mental health treatment.
- I am not an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States.
- I have not within the past year failed a drug test for a drug for which I did not have a prescription.
- I have not been admitted to the United States under a non-immigrant visa of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
- I have never renounced my citizenship as a citizen of the United States.
- I have never been discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions.
- I am not a fugitive from justice.
The site also states that if someone possesses a medical marijuana license, is legally permitted to sell medical marijuana, or uses it consistent with state law, their FOID card and/or their concealed carry license will not be revoked or denied on those grounds, however, they will be subject to the federal laws that will restrict them from owning firearms or ammunition.
If your FOID card is revoked, you can appeal to the review board. Good luck with that. As of this writing, the board is completely vacant, as you can see here. It may be a while before your appeal is heard.
Looking at the above list, it makes sense — at first blush. There are people who would have to answer “no” to some of those questions who should not own weapons. If someone abuses his spouse, partner, or child, he should not own a gun. The same should go for people who routinely impair their judgment with drugs, or who have used firearms to commit a crime. I think most reasonable people could get on board with those restrictions. But with a two-tiered justice system in which a man’s home was raided by federal law enforcement for a minor donnybrook that occurred a year prior, and in a state that has been solidly Democrat for years and whose leaders are opposed to personal gun ownership, it is reasonable to ask how those laws will be applied. For example, what criteria are used to determine whether or not a person is mentally defective? If a person seeks counseling for any reason, will that set off a red flag? John Boch, who is with the group Guns Save Life, told Just the News about someone who was treated for an eating disorder during their college years. This person had their FOID revoked and is unable to file an appeal. So we know how easily that restriction can be applied.
Related: Illinois College Students Want Hate-Crime Culprit Expelled
It is also helpful to remember that Pritzker also signed the Safe-T Act into law, which will take effect on the first of the year. In addition to eliminating cash bail, the law can restrict arrests and increases the eligibility for probation depending on the nature of the crime. Fox News cited a press release from the Village of Orland Park stating that ending cash bail will affect crimes such as “kidnapping, armed robbery, second degree murder, drug induced homicide, aggravated DUI, threatening a public official and aggravated fleeing and eluding.”
But don’t worry, Illinois. Governor Pritzker obviously has things under control.