SAF/ISRA lawsuit in Illinois: Who’s to blame for the delay/denial of rights?
Updated: May 20, 2020
We’ve all heard by now that the Illinois State Rifle Association and the 2nd Amendment Foundation have filed suit against the Illinois State Police. The suit talks about the $29,000,000+ of fund sweeps and ties it in to unreasonable delays in FOID card processing. Well, the ISP fired back on Tuesday:
“The sweeping of funds has denied qualified Illinois citizens their rights and the ability to defend themselves and their families,” SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb said in the release. “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.”
ISP spokesperson Beth Hundsdorfer, however, said in a statement the ISP does “not have the authority to ‘sweep’ funds.”
“In 2015 and 2018, $13.2 million was swept from the Firearms Service Fund into the general fund during the budget crisis. Under the current fiscal year, funds have not been swept, allowing the Firearms Services Bureau to start filling 17 analyst vacancies, procure technology to offer better customer service and to begin building a new Appeals Bureau,” she said.
She does make a point. The ISP doesn’t sweep the funds, legislators do (and did). Matter of fact, the ISP testified in May of 2019 about that (legislators being at fault) in regards support of SB1966 (also known as the Fix the FOID Act). From the Trace (Michael Bloomberg’s/Everytown’s media outlet):
“We’re always against the clock,” State Police Lieutenant John Thompson told members of Tuesday’s House committee, lamenting how lawmakers had rebuffed his agency’s past requests for fee increases. The unit that handles FOID card applications, he added, “is regularly on mandated overtime.”
Rep. Kathleen Willis (the brain behind SB1966) also stated that the agency was broke during that same hearing in May. From the State Journal-Register:
Willis said the purpose of the bill is to “keep up” with FOID revocations and create better communication between local and state 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.
In the same article/hearing, Lieutenant Thompson also said this:
State Police Lt. John Thompson testified Tuesday about the challenges his agency faces with the limited funds it receives for FOID revocation enforcement.
He said the fee of $10 for 10 years isn’t enough to sustain the nearly 1,000 applications the department receives daily.
“We’re running a very, very basic operation, and it’s not what’s expected of us and we need to do better,” Thompson said.
Now, what’s the truth? Here’s the truth:
What about 2019?
The truth is, besides the fund sweeps that legislators used to fund other funds/projects not in relation to the RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS, only a fraction of the money set aside for FOID/CCL was used. The Illinois State Police fund for FOID/CCL has had lapsed balances for years! We covered this on 12/2 (along with the 2018 fund sweep of $7.2 million).
The reason for the lawsuit filed on 1/31 states that