by Justin Thyme
a GSL member
The Illinois FOID card came into being in 1968. After that date, to buy or possess firearms or ammunition became a privilege rather than a right for the Illinois citizen. Since that time government determined IF an Illinois resident could own a firearm… a fundamental Constitutional right protected by our Constitution. To add insult to injury, this FOID card requirement also came with a fee! In other words, the FOID Act converted a fundamental right into a privilege that you had to pay to apply for a license to exercise it!
After the Civil War, poll taxes were introduced to keep poor people, mainly black people, from voting. To permanently put an end to this practice, the 24th Amendment was added to the Constitution. It declared the poll tax was unconstitutional in federal elections and was ratified in 1964. In 1966 the Supreme Court of the United States further ruled states could not levy a poll tax as a prerequisite for voting in state and local elections.
Its time this criteria is applied to the 2nd amendment as well.
I’ll admit I didn’t even consider the unconstitutional aspects of the FOID card back in 1968 at its inception. Now that I’m (much) older and wiser, I am now much more adept at recognizing constitutional issues thanks to Guns Save Life and other like-minded organizations.
For fifty-five years the Illinois citizen has been stripped of a fundamental constitutional right because of a government that wishes to control rather than protect its citizens.
One of the provisions of the FOID card, recently struck down in court, is that if one was arrested for a crime their FOID card would be quickly suspended, even though they had not had their day in court or been convicted of a crime.
One of the mainstays, if not the mainstay, of our legal system is innocent until proven guilty. Surely, this practice constitutes a lack of due process. Why did it take years if not decades to end this practice?
Private information in the hands of the government can be misused. In September of 2010, the Associated Press submitted a Freedom of Information Act request for the names and expiration dates of Illinois FOID card holders. While then Attorney General Lisa Madigan (D-Corruptocrat’s Daughter) was okay with that, Illinois firearm owners were much concerned. Gun owners understand correctly they could be targets for thieves.
Republican sponsored legislation passed both the House and Senate and was signed into law by Governor Quinn (D) in 2011, thereby stopping this list from being published. The constitutional way to prevent this list from being published, leaked or stolen would be that it did not exist in the first place!
As the battle to eliminate the FOID card continues in our courts, we may also wish to consider how many other issues should be under challenge as well. Poor legislation leads to poor outcomes. In the case of the FOID card, millions of residents have been deprived of their constitutional rights without first paying for a permission slip from government, subject to police powers and immediate revocation on the whim of a bureaucrat.