Updated: Jun 10, 2020
(UPDATE: a petition had been started to demand an independent audit. https://www.change.org/p/j-b-pritzker-demand-an-audit-of-the-illinois-state-police-firearms-services-fund?recruiter=1025889179&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink&utm_campaign=tap_basic_share )
More updates are bottom, including the federal lawsuit this article (originally published 12/2/19) helped create.
With the new Illinois General Assembly approaching fast, SB1966 (Fix the FOID or BIO Bill) will be front and center among gun control proponents and gun rights activists alike. Along with requiring fingerprints (at Gun owner’s expense) to legally own a firearm comes other bogus attachments, such as increased fees. One reason for this is to fund the State Police’s task force to track down revoked FOID’s. Here’s Bloomberg/Everytown’s media outlet’s explanation: https://www.thetrace.org/2019/05/illinois-gun-licensing-foid-bill/
Illinois Democrats who want to strengthen the state’s gun owner licensing program inched closer to victory this week after the House advanced legislation to close gaps exposed by February’s mass shooting in Aurora. But the bill’s proponents must still overcome objections from members of their party worried about the effects of ratcheting up license fees.
The overhaul’s primary sponsor, Representative Kathleen Willis, a Democrat from Northlake, left a committee hearing on May 21 intent on making revisions after her colleagues raised concerns about increasing the price of a Firearm Owners Identification card, the license needed to legally possess guns in Illinois, from $10 to $50. The revenues would fund a new State Police task force charged with investigating revoked license holders who failed to surrender their firearms, offset State Police administrative costs, and pay for state-run mental health programs.
You would think the FOID system is in financial ruin, right? Well, according to audits of the Illinois State Police, that’s far from the case:
You’re reading that right. In 2014, 2015 and 2016 combined, only $15,875,735 of the $61,153,400 meant for the State Police Firearms Service Fund was accounted for with being used for what it’s supposed to be used for. Now, what about more recently in 2018?
Where’s all of the unused money going? Where is it? Why isn’t it being used correctly as outlined? For example to the above, here’s the IL Concealed & Carry act:
(430 ILCS 66/60) Sec. 60. Fees. (a) All fees collected under this Act shall be deposited as provided in this Section. Application, renewal, and replacement fees shall be non-refundable. (b) An applicant for a new license or a renewal shall submit $150 with the application, of which $120 shall be apportioned to the State Police Firearm Services Fund, $20 shall be apportioned to the Mental Health Reporting Fund, and $10 shall be apportioned to the State Crime Laboratory Fund. (c) A non-resident applicant for a new license or renewal shall submit $300 with the application, of which $250 shall be apportioned to the State Police Firearm Services Fund, $40 shall be apportioned to the Mental Health Reporting Fund, and $10 shall be apportioned to the State Crime Laboratory Fund. (d) A licensee requesting a new license in accordance with Section 55 shall submit $75, of which $60 shall be apportioned to the State Police Firearm Services Fund, $5 shall be apportioned to the Mental Health Reporting Fund, and $10 shall be apportioned to the State Crime Laboratory Fund. (Source: P.A. 98-63, eff. 7-9-13.)
As for surplus:
It’s outlined pretty well in the law, yes? Well.....
You can see how many applicants were processed the mentioned years here. Do the math to come up with how much the state has made off of people:
We are unable to reach people on the phone regarding questions about our CCL’s/FOID, delays in processing are abundant, renewals take forever, yet they have all of this extra unused $$$$ and our brilliant state anti-gun legislators think throwing more $$$ at the problem and making it more complex will help fix it. As this is a reoccurring problem yearly, that needs to be fixed and all of that money needs to be accounted for, as it seems it’s not being used for the intended purposes and that alone is a violation of the law. Easiest solution: #VoidTheFOID (but then how will the state milk it’s citizens for extra cash just to exercise a right?)
Also, this is interesting.......
Would be nice if the IL Inspector General did a full audit of the State Police Firearms Services Fund to see exactly what is being done (or lack of) with the money.
This article and it’s findings have now been sourced by The Truth About Guns contributor John Boch, who is the Executive Director of Guns Save Life.
GSL was in court recently arguing that paying to exercise a right is unconstitutional.
Thank you, Rep Allen Skillicorn
Here we go!
Be it noted as well that money is being moved around from the SPFSF to fulfill other obligations (state debt). This is from 2018. The request for fee increases for FOID is unwarranted, as they are not using all of the money they have available for it, but appear to be using it for other areas in need. Illinois gun owners should not be responsible for dealing with the state’s financial mess.
Treasurer Michael Frerichs said the state could save up to $100 million a year under legislation he proposed that was signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner.
The bill, which garnered only one “no” vote in the General Assembly, allows the treasurer’s office to pay off some backlogged bills currently waiting payment in Comptroller Susana Mendoza’s office. Senate Bill 2858 authorizes the treasurer to use up to $2 billion in funds that aren’t immediately needed for other purposes.
Money to make the payments will come from some of the hundreds of separate funds maintained by the state, with certain exceptions. The general revenue fund, which is usually described as the state’s checkbook account, is not part of the program. Nor are things like the Health Insurance Reserve Fund and the Attorney General Whistleblower Reward and Protection Fund.
Money from other funds can be used with the stipulation that enough cash remains in the fund so that it can carry out its purpose.
This article by us made the rounds, along with the credited info being used in articles by TTAG and GSL. It obviously reached the right people (as it prompted them to dump what they were sitting on), as it is now part of a federal lawsuit against the Illinois State Police.
The Second Amendment Foundation and Illinois State Rifle Association have filed suit in U.S. District Court against the Illinois State Police, ISP Director Brendan Kelly and Jessica Trame in her official capacity as Bureau Chief of the Illinois State Police Firearms Services Bureau, alleging they have allowed Firearm Owner Identification Card and Concealed Carry applications to languish for interminable periods, thus violating the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Illinois citizens.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Illinois residents Ryan A. Thomas and Goran Lazic. Plaintiffs are represented by attorneys David G. Sigale of Wheaton and Gregory Bedell of Chicago. The lawsuit is known asThomas, et.al. v. Illinois State Police, et.al.
The lawsuit, filed in the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division federal court, says ISP “has swept or transferred funds totaling more than $29,500,000.00 from the State Police Firearms Services Fund, the State Police Operations Assistance Fund, and the State Police Services Fund away from these funds and into other accounts.” According to the complaint, “The money was to be used for three purposes: administration of the Firearm Owners Identification Card (“FOID Card Act”), background checks for firearm-related services, and concealed carry licensing pursuant to the Firearms Concealed Carry Act (“FCCA”). Instead, the more than $29,500,000.00 has been subject to interfund transfers which are ostensibly to be repaid but which have not been, or swept into other accounts without an obligation to reimburse the funds at all.”
“The sweeping of funds has denied qualified Illinois citizens their rights and the ability to defend themselves and their families,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “Because of this practice, ISP processing of FOID and concealed carry applications has slowed to a crawl, allowing paperwork to languish. That’s not just poor performance, it’s pathetic.”
“The citizens of Illinois have been delayed getting their FOID cards for months,” added ISRA Executive Director Richard Pearson. “It is evident that these fund sweeps have caused these delays.”
Thomas has been fighting the system for nearly three years. He had previously held a FOID card and carry license, but lost them simply because he moved out of state for a while. Since his return, to be closer to his children. Lazic had a FOID and CCL appeal pending since 2017 when a charge against him was dismissed and later expunged.
“It is inexcusable that the ISP has simply allowed these cases to gather dust,” Gottlieb said. “Denial of rights under color of law is an abomination to the Second and 14thAmendments of the Constitution and Illinois state law. ISP has had plenty of time to do the right thing, and didn’t. Now we’re asking the court to make them do it.”