Meier Calls for Passage of Bills to Reduce Cost and Regulations for Law Abiding Gun Owners

Photo Courtesy of Jerry Nowicki, Capitol News Illinois

State Representatives Charlie Meier (R-Okawville), Mike Marron (R-Fithian), and Patrick Windhorst (R-Metropolis) held a press conference in Springfield Wednesday alongside fellow Republican legislators and 2nd Amendment supporters to discuss solutions to end delays in FOID card processing, and discussed their shared 2nd Amendment focused legislative agenda. The lawmakers expressed their concerns that fund sweeps of $28 million from the Illinois State Police fund have led to delays in processing FOID card applications and renewals. Meier said when he first took office in 2013, there was a slight delay in FOID processing, but the delay has gotten much worse.

“My office receives anywhere from 3 to 5 e-mails and calls a day from constituents that are affected by the delay in FOID renewal,” said Rep. Meier. “The fund sweeps have led to long delays for gun owners to get their FOID cards renewed. The FOID program has been used as a piggy bank to fund other programs. If the State is going to require the fee, and require the FOID, then we owe it to our citizens to run an efficient and effective program. If we can’t do that, the program should be eliminated.”

Marron says his office is overwhelmed every week with calls from constituents experiencing long delays for FOID renewals.

“My office receives dozens of constituent calls regarding FOID renewals every month,” Marron said. “There has been a steady increase of approval delays leading to many frustrated citizens unable to speak with a live person when checking on their FOID renewal and approval status. The delays are not due to a lack of funding, but because money that was supposed to be used to provide service to Illinois’ two million FOID cardholders was used for spending in other areas.”

Rep. Patrick Windhorst said he is sponsoring a legislative package that would eliminate the FOID altogether (HB 913). Barring its passage, Windhorst says his agenda reduces costs and regulations for law-abiding citizens.

“Illinois is one of only four states that still requires a Firearm Owner’s Identification Card (FOID),” Windhorst said. “Though I believe the FOID card is unconstitutional, that issue will ultimately be decided by the courts. Until the courts decide, there are steps we can take as a legislature to address FOID renewal delays and decrease high costs and burdensome regulations on law-abiding gun owners.”

Windhorst says his legislative package aims to reduce fees, eliminate long waiting periods, and allows for automatic FOID renewal if a concealed carry license is still in effect.

“We are here to say, either void the unconstitutional FOID card, or stop the fund sweeps and pass our legislative package to ease the burden on law-abiding gun owners, reduce costs, and improve renewal times,” Windhorst said.

Multiple House Republican members are sponsoring legislation that would reduce costs and regulations for law-abiding gun owners and protect FOID and CCL funding.

•           HB 4391 would ban local government units from imposing taxes or fees on firearms and ammunition.

•           HB 4392 would eliminate the 72-hour waiting period for individuals that have been granted a valid license to carry a concealed handgun under the Firearm Concealed Carry Act.

•           HB 4393 would lower the fee to obtain a concealed carry license from $150 to $100.

•           HB 4397 grants exclusive power to the State of Illinois in regard to the regulation of the ownership and possession of firearms and invalidates existing and future local ordinances or resolutions that require local registration, or local reporting of the sale or transfer of a firearm, and bans municipalities from maintaining any kind of firearm registry.

•           HB 4398 allows any individual that has received a permit to conceal carry a firearm to do so on public transportation.

•           HB 4447 states that any renewal application shall be accepted by the Illinois State Police if submitted within 180 days before the expiration of the applicant’s FOID card or concealed carry license.

•           HB 4448 would require the Illinois State Police to automatically renew any concealed carry license holder’s FOID card as long as their conceal carry license is in good standing until the time that the concealed carry license expires.

•           HB 4450 spells out the process by which any appeal of the denial of a FOID card or concealed carry license must be handled and provides specific guidelines for the State Police in regard to the time it takes to process any such appeal.

•           HJRCA 40 would amend the Illinois Constitution to place fees collected from FOID and CCL applicants in a ‘lock box’ fund that would be protected from future fund sweeps.