ISRA Thursday Bulletin - February 21, 2019

by Richard Pearson

The work place shooting in Aurora has ignited a firestorm in Springfield.  There are questions about both human and system failures, and also the ever-present question and plea of what can we do, we must do something!  That combination is the recipe for bad law.

One of the expected outcomes of the Aurora shooting was that someone would propose that every FOID card applicant and FOID card holder be fingerprinted.  Sure enough, habitual anti-gunner Kathleen Willis (D-77 Chicago) proposed the idea.  There is not a bill at this writing but I am sure there is one in the works.  The ISRA opposes this idea on its face because it clearly is an out-and-out attack on the Second Amendment, a fundamental right.  Moreover, the costs to individual gun owners would be staggering.  There are, in round numbers, 2,260,000 FOID card holders in the state.  Now the estimated fingerprint cost to the FOID card holder is between $100-$120.  If we use the $110 amount, that would be $110 X 2,260,000=$248,600,000.  That is nearly a quarter billion dollars, not including the hidden costs, to exercise a fundamental right.  I don’t think so.  

Then we would have the costs of staffing for the Illinois State Police, space allocations, equipment costs and who knows what else.  

I am sure we will be knee-deep in bad ideas written into proposed laws, but before any of those are passed we should figure out when and where the system failed and answer a couple of questions.  First, is this a system error or human failure?  Second, was this a common occurrence or a freak event?  Third, can it be fixed with what we have in place?  

Any proposed legislation is more likely to attack law-abiding gun owners rather than fix the problem.  For some legislators, their real goal is to attack law-abiding citizens, using this event an excuse.  We must all remember that the criminal is the cause, not some data entry person that missed a key stroke.  The other thing we need to remember is that this was a Gun Free Zone.  The only thing a Gun Free Zone does is make the criminal safer.  The laws we have on the books are more than adequate, what we need to do is enforce them.  On Monday, in USA Today, Willis said it doesn’t do us any good to tighten up our (gun) laws if we are not following through to make sure they are enforced.  Yet, she is more than willing to push the fingerprint idea.  

FOID card holders go through a background check every night with the exception of Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, Easter and the 4th of July.  The shooter’s record was passed over again and again in the National Instant Check System (NICS).  The Illinois State Police finds many things on those background checks but never this guy’s record?  Maybe there was an error in coding his record in the NICS or maybe there was a corrupted file and no one caught it.  The point is that we don’t know but we should find out before we go forward with Legislation that does nothing but attack law-abiding gun owners.

To say the FOID card system doesn’t work is a mistake.  There are about 10,800 FOID cards revoked in a year.  Of these, 2500 are revoked for mental health reasons.  Others are revoked because people move away or pass away, the rest are revoked for cause.  The FOID card system is not liked by many but it is here to stay, I think.  Prior to 2014, the FOID card system was understaffed so people were waiting months to get a FOID card instead of the required 30 days.  In my opinion, Governor Quinn, who did not like guns or gun owners, deliberately understaffed and underfunded the system to make it tough on gun owners.  At one time, the staff was only at 45% of what was required to operate the FOID Division.  The computer system was so old there were only a few people who could work on it.  The old computers used FORTRAN if anyone remembers that long ago.

Things did not improve until 2014 when money from concealed carry licenses funded a new system.  The new system was being put in place at the very time the Aurora shooter was applying for his FOID card.  I don’t know if the stress of the time played a part in this situation but it could have.  If the FOID system had been funded all along this might never have happened. 

Representative Terra Costa Howard (D-48 Lombard) has introduced HB 3553 which would restrict Illinois counties from passing Gun Sanctuary Resolutions.  So much for your rights, downstaters.

Make your plans to attend Illinois Gun Owner Lobby Day (IGOLD) on March 27th in Springfield.  Everything is at stake here.  Every law-abiding gun owner should be a member of the Illinois State Rifle Association (ISRA).  If you are not a member, please join NOW!  

REMINDER:  February 23rd and 24th - Bill Potts and I will be at the Bloomington Gun Show this weekend to discuss what is happening in Springfield.  ISRA Staff will also be present to answer questions regarding FOID cards.  Bring your ISRA membership card and you will receive $1.00 off the admission.  I hope to see your there!

Thanks for being a member.

Upcoming Events: ISRA Calendar
For more information, visit

Saturday, February 23, 2019
Emergency Self-Aid Buddy-Aid for Trauma Injuries Course (Class is full)

Sunday, February 24, 2019
The Well Armed Woman

Tuesday, February 26, 2019
Air Rifle League & Practice

Saturday, March 2, 2019 
Range Work Day
ISRA Concealed Carry Renewal Class

Sunday, March 3, 2019
Black Powder League

Illinois Gun & Trade Shows

Kendall County Gun Show
Yorkville, IL – Kendall County Fairgrounds
Dates: February 23 & 24, 2019
Hours: Saturday: 8:00-4:00
           Sunday: 8:00-2:00
Admission: $6.00

Bloomington Gun & Knife Show
Bloomington, IL – Interstate Center
Dates: February 23 & 24, 2019
Hours: Saturday: 9:00-5:00
           Sunday: 9:00-3:00
Admission: $6.00

Decatur Gun Show
Decatur, IL – Decatur Conference Center & Hotel
Dates: March 9 & 10, 2019
Hours: Saturday: 8:00-4:00
           Sunday: 8:00-2:00
Admission: $6.00

Belleville Gun & Knife Show
Belleville, IL – Belle-Clair Expo Center
Dates: March 9 & 10, 2019
Hours: Saturday: 9:00-5:00
           Sunday: 9:00-3:00
Admission: $6.00

Northwestern Chicago Survival & Green Living Expo
Grayslake, IL – Lake County Fairgrounds
Dates: March 9 & 10, 2019
Hours: Saturday: 9:00-5:00
           Sunday: 9:00-4:00
Admission: $14.00

Kane County Sportsman’s Show
St Charles, IL – Kane County Fairgrounds
Date: March 10, 2019
Hours: Sunday: 7:30-1:30
Admission: $5.00

Kankakee Gun Show
Kankakee, IL – Kankakee County Fairgrounds
Dates: March 16 & 17, 2019
Hours: Saturday: 8:00-4:00
           Sunday: 8:00-2:00
Admission: $6.00


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