Each year, the Illinois State Police solicit grant requests from law enforcement agencies around the state to perform “firearm enforcement” activities. Translation: the ISP pays for local LEOs to conduct “compliance checks”…confiscating guns from those who fall out of compliance with the Illinois FOID Act.
According to a February 24th press release from the ISP, 30 agencies accepted the grants in 2022 to conduct these confiscations. The agencies conducted 1,115 firearm enforcement checks (call it about three dozen per agency over the entire year). They found guns with 472 of those individuals and “brought them into compliance.”
From the ISP press release . . .
The enforcement details focus on individuals who have become the subject of a Firearm Restraining Order or Clear and Present Danger, or received a criminal conviction, among other reasons.
“Among other reasons…” such as an expired FOID card.
The Land of Lincoln has 994 police agencies across the state. That works out to 3.01% of the agencies took the grants. Clearly the vast majority of the agencies in the state aren’t beating down the ISP’s door looking for “free money” to conduct gun confiscation raids over expired FOID cards.
Recently, at several Guns Save Life meetings across the state, we’ve had local sheriffs and police chiefs laugh when asked if they’re doing “FOID enforcement” gun confiscations. While they all said they aren’t doing any gun confiscation runs, one said it extra succinctly. “Hell no, we’re not,” he said. “If they want them that bad they can pick ’em up themselves.”
Is it worthwhile for the Illinois State Police to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars per year in grants to bring 472 “individuals into compliance” with the FOID Act? Especially when these individuals are formerly registered, card-carrying good guys and gals?
Would that money perhaps be better spent on details dedicated to nabbing recidivist felon gang members in larger cities who are toting fully-automatic GLOCKs?
Perhaps there’s a simple reason why they prefer going after FOID holders and not hard core ‘bangers.
At one of our GSL meetings, the leader of an ISP group that conducted some of those “firearm enforcement” details in the past candidly admitted that the ISP officers under him were people just like the rest of us. “We get paid the same to visit the house of a old veteran with an expired FOID card as we did to pay a visit to some genuine bad guy with warrants for his arrest. I don’t have to tell which ones got priority for us from an officer safety standpoint.”
If you’re a little slow on the uptake, that means they treated the old vet with kid gloves. They helped him get his guns to a friend or family member until he got his FOID renewed. Sometimes they may have even helped that old person navigate the online process for applying for a new FOID card. And wouldn’t you know it, that chewed up a big part of their day. Then, with a little smirk, he added, “Sorry boss. Didn’t have time for the others….”
He noted that people with outstanding warrants usually avoid answering the door when “the fuzz” comes a-knockin’ so they still considered it a good day’s work. Everyone went home safe and they helped someone. Isn’t that what policing is all about?
We’re expecting a decision on the FOID challenge soon. However, until the FOID Act has been struck down and appeals by the State of Illinois have been exhausted, make sure you keep your FOID current to avoid visits from ISP or any other law enforcement agency.