Backlog of Illinois gun owner permits raises call to scrap ‘broken’ system

Backlog of Illinois gun owner permits raises call to scrap ‘broken’ system

Pandemic-exacerbated delays in processing firearm owner and concealed carry license applications are raising frustration and renewing calls by some to change a broken system. Tom Holmes, owner of Military Surplus Outlet at 1902 S. Main St., sees gun ownership as a constitutional right and questions why something like the Illinois Firearm Owner Identification card is needed to confirm that right. Illinois is just one of four states in the nation to have such a requirement. “Here in Illinois, we have privileges, not rights,” Holmes said. Regardless, the state is required to approve or deny applications for firearm owner cards within 30 days; for concealed carry permits, the time limit set by statute is 90 days. On average, the process is taking 122 to 155 days. As of mid-January, there was a backlog of 175,751 firearm owners identification applications and 25,518 concealed carry permits, according to Illinois State Police records. “What are you going to do, write the state a ticket” for not meeting the deadline, Holmes asked. The delays have prompted at least one lawsuit, filed in federal court in July. Some lawmakers, predominantly Republicans, are raising the same question — and calling for substantial changes to a system many see as antiquated. During a Feb. 11 town hall meeting, state Rep. Mike Marron, R-Fithian, said the pandemic just brought the problems to the forefront. “There were delays with FOID cards a year before COVID,” he said. Illinois State Police, whose Firearms Services Bureau is responsible approving firearms permits, […]

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