Senator Anderson: Repeal the FOID Act

By: Senator Neil Anderson State Senator for the 36th District

This spring, I introduced legislation to repeal the outdated and redundant Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) Act. The FOID Act is nearly 50 years old. Advancements in technology and changes in the law over the last 50 years have made it a redundant, unnecessary burden on the citizens of Illinois.

The FOID Act was put in place back in 1968 to identify people who were eligible to own firearms and ammunition, and to meet the requirements of the federal Gun Control Act of 1968. A lot has changed since then. Now, we have access to instant background checks and web-based criminal databases operated by law enforcement. The requirements set out in the FOID Act have outlived their necessity.

Today, Illinois is the only state in the nation that requires such a permit to purchase or possess guns and ammunition. My legislation would repeal the FOID Act in its entirety. However, it will not change Illinois’ current concealed carry law, or change any of the current restrictions against felons possessing firearms. Federal background checks that are required before a firearm can be purchased will remain in place to ensure those who are not legally eligible are not allowed to buy a gun.

My legislation doesn’t expand concealed carry or make it easier for criminals to buy guns. It simply repeals an outdated law that places unnecessary burdens on the citizens of this state.

 

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More Gun Laws Coming?

This week saw anti-gun extremists unleash a full-scale assault on our Right to Keep and Bear Arms in Illinois. It started on Monday, when Attorney General Lisa Madigan (D) issued an opinion stating the Illinois State Police (ISP) must release the personal information of every law-abiding gun owner in Illinois to the Associated Press (AP). The AP had filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for this information. The ISP maintain this information in the Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card database since the mid-1960s, and this material has been considered confidential and not subject to release ever since.

The possible release of this information should be chilling to all Illinois residents, regardless of whether or not they own firearms. Should this material be made available to the AP, and should that media organization decide to publicize it, a number of potential scenarios could lead to the general public being put in grave danger. One possibility is that criminals could use this information as a “shopping list” for their illegal activities. An enterprising criminal could easily select a gun owner, stake out where he or she lives, and then burglarize the home to steal firearms when the homeowner is away. Another possible problem would be that a criminal would know where guns are present, and then target the homes where they are not present to minimize the possibility of running into an armed homeowner. The NRA, of course, strongly opposes the release of this information, and at this time, the ISP appears to be willing to fight the decision by Attorney General Madigan. The NRA will work to keep this information out of the hands of the anti-gun media, but it is important that you contact your state legislators to urge them to support legislative remedies. In the House, the NRA is supporting House Bill 7, introduced by state Representative Ron Stephens (R-102), and in the Senate, we are supporting Senate Bill 27, introduced by state Senator Kirk Dillard (R-24).

In addition to the attack on the Second Amendment being waged by the AP and Attorney General Madigan, the House of Representatives has acted on a number of anti-gun bills this week. On Wednesday, the House Judiciary I Civil Law Committee passed four anti-gun bills, which now go to the floor of the House, and could be taken up for a vote at any time.

House Bill 1294, introduced by state Representative Edward Acevedo (D-2), seeks to ban countless semi-automatic handguns, rifles, and shotguns, many parts for the same, as well as .50 cal. rifles and ammunition.

House Bill 1599, also by Rep. Acevedo, would classify countless semi-automatic handguns, rifles, and shotguns as “semi-automatic assault weapons,” and would classify as “high capacity ammunition” any “ammunition of 50 or more caliber.” This bill would also create enhanced felony penalties under the Unlawful Use of Weapons (UUW) statute if a “semi-automatic assault weapon” or “high capacity ammunition” is involved. Much of the UUW statute deals with simply possessing regulated “weapons.”

House Bill 1855, again introduced by Rep. Acevedo, would create penalties for individuals who have had their firearms stolen if they fail to report the theft in an arbitrarily determined time-frame. Under this bill, which should be titled the “Crime Victim Victimization Act,” if a law-abiding gun owner has a firearm stolen and fails to report the theft “within 72 hours after obtaining knowledge of the theft,” HB 845 would add insult to injury by allowing the crime victim to be charged with committing a petty offense. A second “offense” could lead to the crime victim losing his or her Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) card, thus losing his or her right to own ANY firearm. In other words, as a crime victim, you would be treated the same as the criminal who stole your property if you fail to jump through this bureaucratic hoop in the arbitrary time that the government considers to be a timely fashion.

House Bill 1906, introduced by Representative William Cunningham (D-35), would create a new Illinois bureaucratic requirement that federally licensed firearms dealers that sell handguns also be licensed with the State of Illinois. HB 1906 is a perfect example of a redundant and costly bureaucratic hurdle that states have no reason to waste taxpayers’ money for.

Please contact your state Representative and urge him or her to protect your Second Amendment rights and oppose HB 1294, HB 1599, HB 1855, and HB 1906, and support HB 7. To locate your state Representative and their contact information, please click here.

However there is one pro-gun bill which expects action next week. House Bill 148, the Right-to-Carry bill introduced by state Representative Brandon Phelps (D-118), was not heard this week in the House Agriculture & Conservation Committee and is scheduled to be heard on Tuesday, March 8. This bill represents one of the best opportunities gun owners have had in many years to strengthen the right-to-self defense in Illinois.

HB 148 seeks to establish a shall-issue Right-to-Carry permit system that would be administered by county sheriffs. The list of Representatives who are cosponsoring this legislation has grown to 34, but if we can add to that number, we will increase our chance of passing this critical legislation. The NRA continues to work with pro-gun legislators and the law enforcement community to craft the best possible language for this legislation, and to ensure it is widely supported.

Please contact your state Representative and urge him or her to cosponsor HB 148. If he or she is already on board, be sure to offer your thanks for showing a commitment to the Second Amendment. For contact information or help identifying your state Representative, please click here.

This bill is scheduled to be heard on Tuesday, March 8, in the House Agriculture & Conservation Committee, so please contact committee members and urge them to support HB 148. Contact information for the House Agriculture and Conservation Committee can be found here.

Source: NRA-ILA Eminem discography