So many Illinois residents have applied for a Firearm Owner’s ID Card (FOID) since December that it has swamped the system according to a report by CBS Chicago. The Illinois State Police report that they have a backlog of over 70,000 applications for the card. This backlog has created extraordinary wait times to receive the card. The FOID card is required to purchase both firearms and ammunition in the State of Illinois.
People applying for Illinois Firearm Owner’s Identification cards are waiting more than 60 days as the State Police experience one of its busiest months ever processing applications, spokeswoman Monique Bond said Tuesday.
More than 70,000 FOID card applications have been received in March, Bond said, putting it on track to be the record month so far for the program.
According to stats from the State Police website, they received 31,078 applications in December 2012, 61,172 in January 2013, and 56,078 in February 2013. To put this perspective, the January figure is their all time high and the December and February figures are the record numbers for that month of the year. When the March applications are added to the January and February applications, the number of applications received in the first quarter of the year will be more than 50% of what was received in 2012.
430 ILCS 65 Section 5 states:
The Department of State Police shall either approve or deny all applications within 30 days from the date they are received, and every applicant found qualified pursuant to Section 8 of this Act by the Department shall be entitled to a Firearm Owner’s Identification Card upon the payment of a $10 fee.
Nothing in the statute says anything about exceptions for processing larger than normal numbers of applications.
Gun store owners are disputing the amount of time that the Illinois State Police say that people are actually waiting.
However, the state police’s contention that applicants have to wait 64 days for a card is disputed by Greg Tropino Sr., president of GAT Guns in East Dundee. He told The (Elgin) Courier-News that he is hearing from his customers that it is taking them 10 to 15 weeks to receive a FOID card that gun owners in Illinois are required to have.
Mr. Tropino goes on to suggest that when people hear that items will be banned that they rush to buy them before that happens.
As the quote attributed to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. states, “A right delayed is a right denied.”