ISP working to reduce backlogs for FOID cards, concealed carry licenses

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Many people continue to say they are waiting for either their FOID card or concealed carry license.

Illinois State Police administers the credentials. According to their latest data as of May 2021, the state is looking at a backlog of 159,678 applications for FOID cards, that includes new applications and renewals.

That's down considerably about 35% from the more than 243,000 applications back in March.

RELATED: FOID card problems: Calumet City woman gets card with wrong picture after yearlong wait

For concealed carry license applications, the backlog for new applicants and renewals right now is 45,364. That's down about 8% from March.

ISP says that they are making improvements and that the backlog has decreased since March 2020 thanks to hiring more people and technological advances.

ISP says they are pushing for legislation that would help streamline the application process for firearm credentials.

The average wait time for a FOID card is about seven months. The average wait time for a concealed carry license is about five-and-a=half-months.

For more information, visit https://isp.illinois.gov/Foid

Illinois State Police statement:

ISP's goal is to make gun possession easier for the good guys and harder for the bad guys. We've made significant inroads in reducing the FOID backlog through additional staff and technology, but also believe that additional improvements are required.

Combining the FOID and CCL cards into a single card and synchronizing renewals, providing for an electronic card in lieu of the antiquated paper card, automating renewal steps, and implementing other administrative efficiencies will allow the ISP to eliminate the backlog and better focus on threats to public safety instead of bureaucracy.

We can act on the hard lessons learned from the Henry Pratt shooting and others by adding federal databases to background checks, requiring Illinois to apply for federal funds to close record systems gaps, codifying the correlation of prohibitive records with FOID card holders, fusing firearms investigative and forensic intelligence, publicly identifying all stolen firearms, mandating and funding the enforcement of firearms laws, and by expanding the use of fingerprints.

The ISP cannot implement these changes without statutory authority, and will support efforts to accomplish these objectives.

Further background on the FOID backlog:

Over the past decade the number of FOIDs has nearly doubled to 2.2 million with no statutory improvements or modernization during that period. Because of a decade of no pre-planning and little investment and the huge surge in FOID applications in 2020, the backlog exploded. The Illinois State Police Director has publicly stated numerous times the ISP finds this unacceptable as well and the ISP is diligently working to reduce inefficiencies in the administration of the FOID Act.

This streamlined approach would allow more focus on new applications and identifying potential threats. To streamline existing firearms statutes and focus our resources on threats to safety, the ISP supports legislation that would:

-Consolidate the FOID and CCL card into a single card.

-Renew FOID eligibility in sync with CCL eligibility by allowing automatic renewal of FOIDs when a CCL is approved or renewed.

-Create an electronic card, like when you get on a plane or get a vaccination or go to a movie, in lieu of an antiquated paper card, that can be instantly updated to reduce wait times and communicated by email or text.

-Requesting to use Secretary of State address info rather than require card holders to submit separately (and redundantly) for a FOID to ISP

New FOID backlog has decreased by 18% and renewal backlog has decreased by 38% since March 2020, which can be attributed in part to more hiring and technological advances. The ISP has been in the process of hiring new analysts to process applications since early 2020. The hiring process is ongoing and includes a minimum six-month training program to ensure applications are accurately and efficiently processed. Since early 2020, FSB has hired 31 Firearms Eligibility Analyst Trainees and will continue to hire additional analysts in the coming months. In addition to hiring full time employees, the ISP continues to refine applications processes and improve software systems to increase efficiencies. .
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