Illinois is continuing its transformation into a bastion of civilian disarmament.
The passage of HB 562 on May 31, 2021 embodies Illinois’ lamentable descent into the abyss of gun control. The bill was marketed as a plan to “fix the FOID” (Firearm Owners ID) Act. However, Cam Edwards of Bearing Arms noted that the “legislation approved by the Illinois House and Senate has received far more criticism than praise from gun owners in the state.” HB 562 reduces the amount of time that a Firearms Owner ID card remains valid, on top of increasing permit application fees. These are the prerequisites that Illinois residents must meet before they legally own a firearm.
Republican elected officials have recently made attempts to completely scrap the FOID requirement. Illinois Republicans have alluded to delays in the processing of FOID applications and a recent court decision that ruled that the FOID requirement is unconstitutional with regards to guns being kept at home.
Democrats who dominate both the state House and Senate rejected Republicans’ pushback and proceeded to pass the bill at the end of last month. Democrat members of the Illinois General Assembly believe that HB 562 would fix key flaws in the FOID system.
A number of Democrats released statements in support of their bill. State Senator Patrick Joyce stated:
One of the top issues I have heard about during my time in the Senate is the huge backlog of applications for folks trying to renew their FOID cards. This legislation streamlines the process, brings down the backlog and focuses more resources on enforcement.
It’s clear that the system currently in place is not working, and it’s long past time to get the Illinois State Police back on track in a way that supports law-abiding gun owners. I’m proud to see this legislation advance.
Illinois State Senator Dave Koehler, also put out a statement on the bill’s passage:
One of the biggest obstacles we face with the FOID system is the enormous backlog of applications. There has to be a compromise between having a safe and effective system without making the process unnecessarily difficult for gun owners who have proven themselves to be safe and responsible. I think that this legislation accommodates both of those objectives.
This legislation will allow the Illinois State Police to really focus on keeping our communities safe by ensuring that firearms are kept away from people who are dangerous, both to themselves and others.
Frankly, Illinois’ FOID system does little to stop criminals, and in fact impedes lawful citizens’ ability to purchase firearms. This is the common thread of all gun control, which imposes onerous costs on citizens, thus pricing them out of gun ownership. Criminals, on the other hand, don’t care about gun laws and will go about their business knowing full well that the law-abiding citizens they prey upon won’t fight back.
Illinois is currently ranked in 41st place according to Guns & Ammo magazine’s Best States for Gun Owners’ rankings. Its ranking will likely go down after this new gun control bill gets signed into law. Lawful Illinoisans will suffer as a result.