After the shooting in Aurora, Illinois took five lives, Fix the FOID Act keeps guns out of the hands of people with violent criminal histories
May 29, 2019 — Giffords, the gun violence organization led by former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, applauded the Illinois legislature for passing the Fix the FOID Act, legislation that addresses gaps in the Firearms Owners Identification (FOID) system by ensuring that people with criminal histories who are prohibited from gun possession are not able to easily evade the law and arm themselves.
“People prohibited from owning a gun shouldn’t be able to get their hands on one,” said Nico Bocour, state legislative director at Giffords. “Gaps in Illinois’s strong laws have allowed dangerous individuals to use a firearm to cause devastating tragedies like the shooting in Aurora, Illinois. But state lawmakers didn’t just offer thoughts and prayers. They acted to make sure Illinoisans are safe from gun violence at work and in their communities. The Fix the FOID Act closes dangerous loopholes so only law-abiding citizens can buy a gun. We applaud Rep. Willis and Sen. Morrison for their leadership in sponsoring this legislation and look forward to Governor Pritzker signing the Fix the FOID Act into law.”
On February 15, 2019, a convicted felon brought a gun into the Henry Pratt Company in Aurora, Illinois, and opened fire, killing five people and injuring six others. Although both federal and Illinois law prohibited the shooter from possessing a gun, he was able to obtain, the shooter was able to obtain a FOID card despite a 1995 aggravated assault conviction in Mississippi. The shooter then applied for a concealed carry license in March 2014 that flagged his 1995 conviction. He was sent a letter informing him that he was required to turn over his Firearm Disposition Record and surrender his weapons. However, law enforcement never followed up with the initial letter and the shooter did not turn in his firearm.
Current law requires individuals to obtain a FOID Card from the Department of State Police before purchasing a gun. To obtain the card, one must submit an application via mail or online attesting to the applicant’s eligibility to possess guns, a photo, and complete a background check by the State Police. If a FOID Cardholder subsequently becomes prohibited from gun possession, State Police sends the individual a notice of revocation of the FOID Card and directs them to give up any guns in their possession and submit a Firearm Disposition Record to State Police confirming that they have done so. According to an analysis by the Chicago Tribune, more than 34,000 people from 2015 to 2019 had their FOID cards revoked. Existing law does not have a clear process, however, for people who have had their FOID cards revoked to relinquish their firearms.
The Fix the FOID Act will:
Require a point-of-sale background check for all gun sales, including those by a private seller.
Require FOID applicants to apply in person with the State Police.
Require FOID applicants to submit fingerprints as part of their application.
Mandate the State Police take action to remove guns once a FOID Card is revoked.
Reduce the FOID Card duration from 10 years to 5 years.
Strengthen the concealed carry license process.
The latest edition of the Giffords Law Center Annual Gun Law Scorecard found that Illinois received a “B+” for the strength of the state’s gun laws. Illinois strengthened its gun laws in the past year by enacting a gun dealer licensing requirement and an extreme risk protection order law, increasing its investment in violence intervention programs, and extending its firearm waiting period. Illinois could further improve its grade by limiting bulk firearm purchases and restricting large-capacity magazines.