The General Assembly’s Joint Commission on Administrative Rules (JCAR) accepted an emergency rule from the Illinois State Police this week that provides a new 150-day extension to Illinoisans whose Firearms Owners Identification (FOID) cards or Concealed Carry Licenses (CCLs) have expired due to a huge backlog within the State Police’s renewal system.
During the April 13 hearing, State Police Lt. Greg Hacker of the Firearms Services Bureau told JCAR members the department is making good progress on the backlog of renewals, but that another extension was needed. Specifically, the new rule states that a FOID card or CCL that has expired since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic is considered valid for another 150 days as long as the card-holder has applied for renewal and has paid the required fees.
Senator Donald DeWitte (R-St. Charles), who serves on JCAR, said that aside from unemployment issues, FOID and CCL issues are the top issue that causes constituents to contact his office. “We field multiple calls and emails every week from folks who applied for their renewals months and months go, who have heard nothing from the State Police Firearms Services Bureau,” said Sen. DeWitte. “Right now, I have 30-35 open FOID and CCL constituent cases from law-abiding gun owners whose renewals are jammed up in the system.”
According to Sen. DeWitte, the extension provides temporary relief to some constituents, but other problems remain. “This new JCAR rule does nothing to address lawful Illinoisans who applied for a first-time FOID card and/or CCL, or those who are trying to process an address change or name change,” Sen. DeWitte said. “I understand the State Police has hired additional staff to help with the backlog, but when people follow Illinois law to gain the proper identification needed to exercise their Second Amendment rights, and that documentation is delayed for unreasonable periods of time, there are Constitutionality concerns.”