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LOSE YOUR RECORDS, LOSE YOUR RIGHTS: IL passes anti-gun FOID ‘Modernization’ bill with the help of the Illinois State Rifle Association

June 2, 2021

It is with a heavy heart that I must report that the NRA’s state affiliate in the Land of Lincoln negotiated a new bill to modernize the state’s much-hated Firearm Owner Identification Card Act.  The Illinois State Rifle Association then went neutral on the newly-inserted gun control language, tacitly supporting HB562‘s passage while every other gun rights organization in our state went on record opposing the measure.

The ISRA’s surprising neutrality on the final language actually was discussed during the brief Senate floor debate before the bill passed.  It now heads back to the House for a pro-forma concurrence vote which will happen when the legislature comes back for the fall veto session, if not before. 

Some people think it’s dead because the House adjourned before the concurrence vote.  Far from it.  The only thing that happened with the House adjournment is that the effective date will be pushed back to summer 2022.  It’s a dead-nuts certainty that it will pass a concurrence vote in the Illinois House and that Gov. JB will sign it into law with some fanfare, telling people that these new restrictions – impacting exclusively the law-abiding in our state – will (somehow) keep residents safer as fewer cops, few prosecutions and more crime ravage the violent crime hell hole that is Chicago.

How will this new law impact you and your life?
So, what did the ISRA’s professional lobbying team of five achieve in weeks-long negotiations culminating in a last-minute flurry of anti-gun additions? 

HB562 now requires every private gun sale to be reported (also known as ‘registered’) within 10 days (for a fee of up to $25 per gun) to a federally licensed dealer by the gun’s buyer.  That creates a whole new record-keeping requirement on top of the existing ten-year record-keeping requirement for the seller. 

What’s more, it also smells a lot like the precursor to formal gun registration in Honest Abe’s home state.  

Why is registration a bad thing?  How about cops show up at your doorstep and demand your rifle for ballistics testing as happened to AR owners in the area surrounding Washington DC during the reign of the DC Beltway Sniper?  How about local cops or alphabet soup agencies forcibly seizing one or more guns from your collection for a host of reasons ranging from Red Flag orders to taking them as “evidence” without any further probable cause.  How ’bout because confiscation ALWAYS follows registration?  

Not only that, but if the buyer fails to record and retain the name of the dealer to which the purchase was reported, that’s a felony for the second incidence.  Lose your records, lose your rights. 

Housefire?  Flood?  Tornado?  Tough cookies…  no more gun rights for you same as if you robbed a bank or molested children.  Welcome to Illinois.

If paying $25 for the privilege of registering your acquisition of a gun through a lawful private sale sounds a lot like a state-mandated tax of sorts to receive a firearm, well, you’re right.

Guns confiscated by Chicago Police. Note how sights are over-rated on that AR pistol.  ALSO, note one other thing missing on that table:  A FOID card.  Image via CPD Twitter.

Will the gang members in Chi-town – now as of this writing at 267 270 homicides (more than 31 entire states reported for the entire year of 2019) – spend $25 to report each and every one of their “acquisitions” at their local gun store?  We have no doubt.

What happens if Joe Sixpack says, “Screw it!  It’s none of the government’s business and I’m not registering the 12 guns I inherited from Uncle Alexander!  Especially at $25 each!”  Failure to report the first firearm received through a private sale, inheritance or a gift is a misdemeanor.  Failing to report a second gun raises it to a felony – as in lose your gun rights.  Forever.

This is what the team of five professional lobbyists at the Illinois State Rifle Association (website) negotiated with Democrats running this bill.  Pro-gun legislators were shocked and appalled that the ISRA not only negotiated this, but then went neutral on the final product, tacitly approving it in the end.  And this was the day after a bill mandating electronic fingerprints for new FOID applications and renewals – along with an elimination of private gun sales stalled in the same Illinois Senate.

When contacted asking for an explanation of why the ISRA came out neutral on what many of us saw as a bad bill for gun owners, the ISRA Executive Director Richard Pearson replied, “Dealers don’t have to do it, they aren’t liable for the accuracy of the records and we get people their FOID cards and ICCLs [Illinois Concealed Carry Licenses]. There will be another day tomorrow.”  In a subsequent text message, he wrote, “There are some rotten bastards involved.  Explain later.  Much later.”

What else did ISRA help negotiate? All emergency court orders will now require the suspension of firearm rights for the accused, even those orders that are issued ex parte, without the accused being present and having nothing to do with firearms or threats of violence.  That’s a total lack of due process.  Thank you ISRA.

Previously, only protective orders that specified a firearms prohibition would trigger a (temporary) revocation of gun rights. In other words, under this bill, all emergency court orders will effectively become red flag gun confiscation orders.  Nevermind how upwards of a third or more of emergency court order applications in family court are vexatious (legal action or proceeding initiated maliciously and without Probable Cause by an individual who is not acting in Good Faith for the purpose of annoying or embarrassing an opponent) and filed to give one side or the other a leg up in divorce, child custody or property settlement negotiations.

Later, if a judge later throws out the emergency ex parte order or it expires, the ISP will remove the suspension. When they get around to it, of course.  Recovering your guns?  That will take still more time.  

Currently, FOIDs are revoked and those with vacated protective orders involving firearms ownership.  These folks then have to reapply from scratch, submit a stack of paperwork and then wait (and wait) months for the state to get around to issuing a new FOID card.

Asked if the state’s biggest and most influential gun rights organization, the National Rifle Association – Institute for Legislative Action had any role in these negotiations between ISRA and the bill’s sponsors, the NRA-ILA’s rep for Illinois, John Weber, said “no.”

Mr. Weber noted that gun owners recently won a case in which the FOID Act was ruled unconstitutional.

Was there really a need to compromise on legislation reforming the FOID Act with that ruling in our favor and a slew of other pending lawsuits challenging the whole FOID scheme?  A whole bunch of us don’t think so.  

Other problematic areas in HB562 include the appointment of a partisan FOID review board by the governor to evaluate revocation appeals and petitions to restore firearm rights to reformed felons. Given how Pritzker once ran for Congress on the platform of banning the private ownership of handguns, you have to be remarkably naïve or willfully ignoring reality to believe any of his appointments will have an NRA membership card in their wallets.

In fact, as HB562 offers no standard of review for those FOID appeals, any existing due process standard could be thrown under the bus in favor of simply blocking all appeals and rights restoration claims.   This would leave the prospective gun owner with a painful choice:  move out of Illinois to one of the 47 other states that have no such regulatory licensing burden, spend thousands of dollars on legal representation and take it to circuit court (no guarantees there) or simply forgo a fundamental constitutional right.

On the upside, HB562 would allow for electronic versions of FOID cards and carry licenses.  For a voluntarily submitted set of electronic fingerprints (at about $75-$100 per set), the bill will also allow for lifetime renewals of FOID cards with an additional roughly $30 in fees on top of the current $10 renewal fee for a 10-year card.  Not exactly a bargain for those nearing retirement age.  We could have had all that from a previous couple of bills without all the anti-gun baggage, were it not for the latest negotiations between ISRA and the Democrats running this latest bill.

Once again, this bill offers little in the way of a victory for law-abiding gun owners and prospective gun owners in the Land of Lincoln.  It contains plenty of reasons for gun rights organizations to oppose it.  But not enough reasons for ISRA to oppose it.

Are you dismayed or want to know why they did this? 

420 E Locust St, Chatsworth IL 60921
Phone: (815) 635-3198 
Fax: (815) 635-3723
Email us at: member@isra.org

14 Responses to LOSE YOUR RECORDS, LOSE YOUR RIGHTS: IL passes anti-gun FOID ‘Modernization’ bill with the help of the Illinois State Rifle Association

  1. FormerParatrooper on June 2, 2021 at 10:59 am

    Would you be required to retroactively register with an FFL for firearms you inherited before the effective date of the bill if it becomes law?

  2. jboch on June 2, 2021 at 1:25 pm

    No.

  3. Gipper's Ghost on June 2, 2021 at 2:24 pm

    Thanks ISRA. First you screwed up the legal challenge to the FOID by having your in-house lawyer handle it, and now this. I’ve hesitated to join your organization in the past, now I definitely won’t.

    As long as any gun I sell existed before this goes into effect, the buyer will receive from me a bill of sale with a date on it showing it was sold before the law went into effect. Prove otherwise.

  4. Chuck Pine on June 2, 2021 at 8:10 pm

    It doesn’t surprise me, I talked to Mr. Pearson at Pittsfield a couple years ago. I expressed my disapproval of the FOID law since I returned from Vietnam in November 1968. I found out from my dad I couldn’t go quail hunting with him on Thanksgiving because I didn’t have a FOID card. That was the last opportunity I would have to go hunting with my father. Mr. Pearson informed me he thought the FOID card requirement was a good idea. Unfortunately I was already a ISRA life member. I am now contemplating sending my membership card back to them, and ask for a refund. The ISRA are not supporting the views and ideals of their membership, maybe they are trying to follow in the footsteps of the NRA. If they do they will lose support and not get the funding support from their membership and will also go bankrupt.

  5. Mark on June 2, 2021 at 10:45 pm

    Every day I find another reason to move to Indiana.

    For now, HB 562 is dead; it was never called for a Senate vote after the bill sponsor filed a Motion to Withdraw the bill, and the session ended without anything happening. It will likely be resurrected for the Fall Veto Session. The better news is that some House and Senate Dems were arguing over the fingerprinting provision (source: Cap Fax Blog), and worried about re-election fights if they voted yes.

    • jboch on June 3, 2021 at 9:29 am

      Where are you getting your information? Bill withdrawn and didn’t get a vote? Yeah, I don’t think so. That wasn’t what I saw on the livestream.

      The bill was passed by the Senate 40-17 and was sent to the House.

      Doubt it? Visit ILGA.gov and type in HB0562 in the search bar. Scroll down to the status.

      At the latest it’ll be passed in the fall veto session.

      There’s a growing likelihood of a special session in a couple of weeks, at which time there’s a very strong likelihood it will get a concurrence vote in the House which will require a simple majority.

      John

      • Mark on June 4, 2021 at 12:14 pm

        John, the bill is dead for now (as reported widely) because it never got both chambers to finalize the vote on it in time. The House never reconciled the Senate version (which did away with mandatory fingerprinting). So unless it is called in either a Special Session or the Fall Session, it’s dead to the world. And there is little likelihood of a Special Session being called at this time; nobody who is “somebody that somebody sent” is talking about calling one for any reason. See: https://capitolfax.com/2021/06/04/not-everything-passed-this-spring/

  6. DM on June 3, 2021 at 9:31 am

    In the past, Mr. Pearson has implied the FOID card was a good thing (he did this on network TV, as I recall).

    Now he has negotiated a bill requiring us to report private sales. When asked for an explanation – he blames “rotten bastards”. That’s not good enough.

    Mr. Pearson needs to step down.

  7. peewee on June 3, 2021 at 3:52 pm

    I am DONE with the Drunks at the ISRA

    The FOID is the creation of the ISRA and they keep supporting their stupid law.

    I demand the resignation of Richard Pearson.

    Remember the Gun show Loop-Hole Stunt of Richards Pearson.

    Enough is Enough; Dump the ISRA Drunks

  8. Hugh Askew on June 3, 2021 at 9:09 pm

    ISRA and the NRA are in the same boat, they are both in dire need of new leadership that aren’t senile. Let my ISRA membership expire when I joined GSL.

  9. peewee on June 3, 2021 at 10:06 pm

    Dear John; Please allow this comment

    Have any of you read the nonsense of Richard Pearson in his june 3 report when he says the ISRA has a long term goal to repeal the FOID ?????

    So by limiting the transfer of firearms, even to family members is supporting gun rights?

    Its time the Board of the ISRA realizes Pearsons Nonsense has got to end!

    Richard Pearson has got to go!!!!!!!!

    The ISRA will never see another Dime of my money. Nor will I make an effort to promote them

    • Mark on June 4, 2021 at 12:23 pm

      I read the June 3rd report, and find the path the ISRA is taking disturbing at best. In splitting hairs and taking what they can get, they follow in the NRA’s footsteps. I get the idea that it takes time to get laws changed, but ISRA needs to take a far more aggressive stance on the bills and laws. GOA, FPC, and 2nd Amendment Foundation are doing this, and gaining wins. Years ago I suggested dropping the “pre-emption” fight (which went nowhere for decades anyway), and got the same kind of story that we had to win pre-emption first (despite pre-emption being a technical legal argument that didn’t deal with the core of the 2nd Amendment, and them we could move forward. What moved Illinois forward was a Federal lawsuit, not endless dickering with our gun-hating legislators of both chambers.

  10. JJ on June 6, 2021 at 9:20 am

    Pearson must be replaced. ISRA and NRA need bold and aggressive new leadership.

  11. Charlie Hayes on June 8, 2021 at 2:11 pm

    I recently became a Lifetime Member of the ISRA. I now regret my decision. I’m thinking of revoking my membership and asking for a refund. Apparently the NRA and ISRA have become corrupt over time. Get new leaders or shit-can both organizations.

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