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Federal lawsuit filed against Illinois State Police over FOID card delay

An assortment of firearms are seen for sale at Capitol City Arms Supply in Springfield in 2013.

(The Center Square) – A federal lawsuit against Illinois State Police a group says was filed Tuesday seeks to force the agency to comply with the 30-day requirement for Illinois Firearm Owners Identification Card applications.

Lawmakers in some parts of the state say one of the major things they hear from constituents is the delay in getting the FOID card application or renewal processed.

“We’ve been looking at this problem for a long time, gathering information for filing this lawsuit, and that day has finally come,” Illinois State Rifle Association Executive Director Richard Pearson said. “These delays have gone on long enough. We had hoped to avoid litigation, but at this moment, we have no choice.”

Illinois State Police responded in a statement Tuesday afternoon that there has been an “explosion” of applications and firearm transfer requests and legislation is needed to streamline and modernize the process.

“The Illinois State Police agree FOID applications should be processed quickly and within the statutory guidelines,” the ISP statement said. “This year alone, [Firearm Services Bureau] processed 65,969 new FOID applications. Nonetheless, with an explosion of applications and firearms purchases during the pandemic and current events — 63,832 FOID applications and 65,222 [Firearm Transfer Inquiry Program] applications just last month — broader legislative remedies to streamline and modernize the FOID process will be necessary to meet statutory timelines.”

“We look forward to working with all interested parties and members of the general assembly to reach those solutions,” the ISP statement said.

ISRA said the lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, on behalf of D’Andre Bradley, David D. Moore and Tara D. Moore, and Brett O. Shelton.

“The law requires that the Illinois State Police either approve or deny a FOID card application within 30 days,” said Second Amendment Foundation founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb. “But ISP has been dragging its feet, leaving applicants in limbo for months. Sometimes the agency doesn’t act for as long as 60 or even 90 days. You can bet that if a private citizen had to comply with a legal requirement within 30 days, he or she would be in big trouble for not meeting that deadline.”

“This has been going on for years and it has to stop,” Gottlieb said. “It is especially important now, with the surge in FOID applications as a response to recent civil unrest that has included looting and violence. Illinois residents expect efficiency, not excuses, and they haven’t been getting it.”

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