Governor Rauner signed HB-4855 into law. Aren't you excited? The bill allows extends the time the Illinois State Police has to process a FOID card renewal to 60 business days, up from 30 calendar days.
The good news, if you look hard enough, is that the FOID card will remain active and valid while they process the renewal. The bad news is that it doesn't really matter what the law is, when it comes to FOID card applications and renewals, the ISP does what they want, when they want, the law be damned.
Need examples? Sure, no problem.
1. Remember when FOID card applications and renewals took the better part of three to four months under Pat Quinn? Even though the ISP was, BY LAW, required to process them within 30 days?
Ancient history, you say? The Guns Save Life president just waited thirty-some days for the ISP to process his renewal and that has been within the last two months. The law when that happened was 30 days to process renewals. Did anyone at ISP get sanctioned? Laugh out loud. No.
2. A while back the ISP unilaterally decided it would not issue a FOID card to anyone under the age of 10, despite the law clearly omitting any reference to a minumum age for issuance of a FOID card. Again, the law be damned.
I'm planning on testing that here in a couple of months if all goes as planned. My plan is to submit a FOID application for my newborn twin sons the day they are born, if time allows. At the latest, the applications will be submitted the day after their birth. I double dog dare ISP to deny those applications because of age. I'll seek damages under 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 litigation. I think it's time for state officials to be held directly accountable for arbitrary decision-making against civil rights.
3. Ever tried to buy a gun after your FOID renewal has been sent in and you have not yet received a replacement card? If so, you got denied. Why? Because standard practice has always been that the ISP arbitrarily invalidates existing FOID cards as soon as a person submits for a renewal. Not because it says anywhere in Illinois law that as soon as you submit for a renewal your existing card becomes invalid, but because some schmuck at ISP decided that's the way it will be. Will this change under this new law? Who knows. We'll find out soon enough.
4. Illinois law, specifically Section 10 of the FOID Act, says that the Department of the State Police shall grant a hearing to request relief from their status as a prohibited person.
In a nutshell, the ISP must notify the state's attorney's office at least thirty days before any hearings to give them an opportunity to object, having no convictions for forcible felonies for at least twenty years since incarceration, the applicant's criminal history and reputation are such that they are not likely to act in a manner dangerous to the public's safety, and granting relief would not be against the public's interest (or federal law).
The ISP has a number of applications sitting on someone's desk where they have done nothing towards ruling on these reformed felons seeking to have their firearm rights restored. And without ISP rejecting the applications outright, the individuals cannot appeal to their local circuit courts for relief. Again, the law says one thing, the ISP's leadership does what it darn well pleases when it darn well pleases. Some have waited for up to two full years without action from ISP.
While you may not have a lot of sympathy for reformed felons, I assure you JB Pritzker has even less sympathy for you as a gun owner.