Illinois doesn’t have lenient gun laws. However, one Illinois State representative, Kathleen Willis, wants to make it even harder to purchase guns in the Prairie State. She also wants to fingerprint all licensed gun owners in the state.
Willis added an amendment to Senate Bill 1966 requiring new FOID (Firearm Owners Identification) card holders to be fingerprinted. It would require those renewing FOID cards to fingerprinted as well. Additionally, the amendment would reduce FOID from 10 to five years, and raise the application price from $10 to $50; a 400 percent increase. She claims the purpose is to increase FOID revocations, along with creating better communication between law enforcement agencies.
“One of the reasons that we saw that revocations were not followed up as best as they could was because there was no money in resources to be able to do that,” Willis said, according to the Rockford Register Star.
She says agencies need the money to process applications. However, Ed Sullivan, Illinois State Rifle Association, claims concealed-carry permit fees should have raised $78 million over the past 10 years. Senate Bill 1966 passed a House Judiciary Committee vote along party lines, advancing the bill to a House vote. During the committee discussion, Willis even stated she had no problem fingerprinting everyone in Illinois if it makes the state safer.
Other Aspects of the Kathleen Willis Amendment
In addition to increasing the price and reducing the time frame, this amendment require applicants to pay for fingerprinting. This raises the costs for a FOID by an additional $150. This means gun owners would have to pay $200 every five years. The NRA-ILA claims this amendment also creates an indefinite delay of firearm transfers. Another aspect increases FOID processing time from one calendar month to thirty business days, which adds a span up to six weeks.
Opponents have issues with both the constitutional rights aspect and the price increase. Rep. Terri Bryant doesn’t believe the state should require fingerprints to exercise the constitutional right of owning a gun. Rep. Arthur Turner, Democrat from Chicago, believes this would adversely affect poorer people.
“If I have to pay hundreds of dollars, potentially, to have a FOID card, I’m worried that you’re going to price out certain communities that can’t afford to pay that,” Turner said.