Gun-rights groups file lawsuit against Illinois State Police for delayed FOID card applications, renewals

ByChuck Goudie and Barb Markoff and Christine Tressel WLS logo
Wednesday, February 26, 2020
Gun-rights groups file lawsuit against ISP for delayed FOID applications, renewals
On average in 2019, the ABC7 I-Team has learned that it took twice as long as allowed for state police to process renewals of Firearm Owner Identification cards.

Complaints from Illinois gun owners continue to pour into the ABC7 I-Team as delays continue in the processing of Firearm Owner Identification card applications and renewals.

"We've established an aggressive hiring plan..." said Major Jarod Ingebrigtsen, commander of Public Safety Services Illinois State Police. The ISP is responsible for processing gun cards, including background checks.

ISP on Tuesday showed off their new and allegedly improved FOID card call center at the agency's headquarters in Springfield, and authorities there tried to blunt what has been a public relations calamity.

Applicants are entitled, under the law, to have their cards issued within 30-days. Police officials say that in 2019 it took an average of 65 days for renewal of a FOID card. They say 90% of applicants did have their FOID paperwork processed in less than a month.

This comes as police officials are pressing for legislation now in the state general assembly that would tack fees onto FOID card paperwork and they say allow for safer and faster processing.

The lobbying effort also follows filing of a federal lawsuit against ISP by two gun-rights groups alleging the agency has bungled its responsibilities.

The Illinois State Rifle Association and the Second Amendment Foundation filed a lawsuit on behalf of two Illinois residents, claiming it takes too long to process paperwork required to own and carry firearms.

Ryan A. Thomas and Goran Lazic, say they've been waiting since 2017 for their FOID cards and Conceal Carry licenses.

There are nearly 2.3 million FOID card holders in Illinois and the I-Team has received gun-owner reports of problems in processing, from website issues to state phones going dead.

As the I-Team first reported in November, ISP officials said they were trying to repair "longstanding (sic) issues surrounding the Call Center."

Gun owners told us then-and continue to tell us-that they can't access state websites to fully complete applications for a FOID renewal, or reach human beings to report problems.

Illinois state police officials say they have a plan to upgrade FOID technology in 2020 that centers on implementation of a Voice over Internet Protocol, that features automated interactions and call backs.

The aim is to resolve problems independent of an agent.

As of late last year 25,000 FOID applications were being received by state police each month-and ISP officials said more than 250,000 had been processed by that point in 2019.