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CHICAGO (CBS) — If you’re waiting on firearms owner’s ID or concealed carry applications in Illinois, you are far from alone: The current backlog is thousands of applications long.
In December, Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly called the system “antiquated, outdated, inefficient.”
So what’s being done to fix it?
CBS2 Investigator Megan Hickey reports, that according to Kelly, lawmakers will have to help fix the system. But passing bills to change the roughly 50-year-old system has proven difficult.
Mokena resident Heather Miller has been waiting 13 months — since early March, 2020 and before the COVID-19 lockdown — to renew her Concealed Carry License.
“There’s nothing I can do about it, it’s completely out of my control,” Miller said.
Illinois State Police issued emergency pandemic rules extending the validity of the cards, but Miller, who travels frequently, worries about what will happen out of state.
“If something were to happen over there and I were to have to use the firearm,” she said, “when the investigation starts, I can’t show a valid license.”
For months, the CBS 2 Investigators have been tracking the backlog surge in Illinois — which skyrocketed in June. Processing times for new FOID cards are currently four times longer than the 30-days required by law.
This month, ISP Director Kelly voiced support for legislation that would consolidate the FOID and CCL card into a single card and allow the card to be digital.
But anti-gun groups have concerns with making the process easier.
Republican Illinois State Sen. Neil Anderson pushed legislation in 2018 to digitize the FOID card system. It passed through the Senate easily and the bill got held up in the House. He believes it’s the first step to really tackling the backlog. But he’d like to take it even farther.
For seven years in a row, he’s proposed legislation to do away with the FOID system altogether — which he says it redundant. But that bill has never gotten a hearing.
“I want the public to be able to hear my arguments, and I want to hear that other side’s arguments,” Anderson said. “I think that’s how democracy works.”
The backlog in March decreased slightly from February, but it’s still well above pre-pandemic levels. ISP tells us they are currently hiring more analysts.
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