Dear Editor,

As we have dealt with the coronavirus pandemic this year, we have seen many state government operations struggle. One of these has been the processing of applications for Firearm Owner Identification or FOID cards.

Wait times which were already too long before the pandemic have expanded to unacceptable lengths. Figures shared by the State Police indicate that while the average processing time for a new FOID card application in 2018 was 20 days, this year it is 70. Renewals which took 20 days just two years ago now take on average 136. While the number of applications increased from 256,353 in 2018 to 379,873 this year, the state of Illinois has not adapted its system to meet the increased demand.

I recently sent a letter to Governor Pritzker calling for action to reduce wait times for FOID cards. My office has received many emails and phone calls from concerned constituents who have been waiting for their applications to be approved. Some have waited for 6 months or more. We have been working with the State Police to move the process along but much more needs to be done.

I have spoken with State Police Director Brendan Kelly and shared with him our concerns about the wait times. These delays have made it harder for Illinoisans to purchase firearms or ammunition or to make plans for fall hunting trips as shotgun deer season approaches.

This is not due to any mistake or wrongdoing on the part of the applicant. It is also not due to a lack of hard work on the part of the State Police personnel who are processing the applications. It is due to an inadequate and inefficient system for processing the paperwork. Director Kelly and I have had productive conversations and he told me about the steps he is taking to improve the process. I applaud the work he and his staff are doing to straighten this out but there is much to do. Government needs to do better! Much better.

I look forward to seeing an improved system that better protects the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Illinoisans.

Sincerely,

Tom Bennett

State Representative — 106th District