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Illinois FOID card application: Here’s what’s behind delays, IL State Police say

CHICAGO (WLS) — If you applied for a firearm owner’s identification card, or FOID card, you may be waiting a while for it to arrive in the mail.

Some people applied for a FOID card months ago. They thought the card would arrive in about 30 days, but they said they are still waiting.

A FOID card allows the state of Illinois to identify people who are eligible to own and use a firearm.
State police said there are two big reasons behind the delays. According to Illinois State police, the first cause is financial instability.

“The Illinois State Police agree FOID applications should be processed quickly and within the statutory guidelines. Financial instability brought on by the lack of a budget in the prior administration greatly impacted the processing of FOID applications by the Firearms Services Bureau. Gov. Pritzker’s budget and the fiscal assurance it brings will allow the ISP to continue efforts to hire at least 32 additional analysts and invest in technology upgrades. This year alone, FSB processed 65,969 new FOID applications….broader legislative remedies to streamline and modernize the FOID process will be necessary to meet statutory timelines. We look forward to working with all interested parties and members of the general assembly to reach those solutions,” said ISP.

Another big reason for FOID card delays is that applications have skyrocketed over the last year.

In June of 2019, the state received 25,359 FOID card applications. In June of 2020, the state has received 62,823 applications. That’s an increase of 148%.

“Below, you’ll see the total new applications received March through June 2020 compared to the four previous months. Of note the FSB received more FOID applications in the month of June than for the months of November 2019 through February 2020,” ISP explained.

FOID applications:
November: 14,063
December 13,141

January: 21,424
February: 13,629
Average: 15,564, with 62,257 total.

March: 36,762
April: 25,254
May: 22,813
June: 62,823
Average: 36,913, with a total of 147,652

As of June 30, ISP says new FOID cards are taking an average of 70 days.

At a minimum, a new FOID application must go through 42 steps before a determination is made.

More information from ISP:

Once a FOID application has been approved, it will be printed and mailed out. Once a status changes from “under review” to “active”, an applicant will know the application has been sent to the printer and they can expect to receive the cards within 7-10 business days. Unfortunately, we cannot give any more specific time frame of when an applicant will receive the cards.

A section of our frequently asked questions (https://www.ispfsb.com/Public/FAQ.aspx) has been dedicated to COVID 19 and we have posted the following message there to warn people about delays:

I submitted a FOID/CCL application last month. Are new FOID and CCL applications still being processed or only applications for renewal?
New applications are being processed, but you should expect delays. Like all entities, our normal operations have been impacted by COVID 19.

What if I did not receive my FOID Card?
Please first allow for the 30-day or 60 business-day processing time — plus time for mail delivery — to pass before calling to check on the status of your FOID application. If at that time you have not received your FOID card, call the Customer Service Center at 217-782-7980. If the card was returned to the Illinois State Police as undeliverable by the USPS, it will only be mailed out again after you contact the Firearms Services Bureau at the number above. If you notify the Bureau within 6 months of application that you did not receive your card, a replacement card will be sent to you at no charge. After 6 months, you will need to apply for a replacement card.

Current FOID/CCL holders are reminded that emergency rules were put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic. Firearms Owners Identification (FOID) card holders and Concealed Carry License (CCL) holders, who submit their renewal application will remain valid during the duration of the state’s disaster proclamation and for a period of 12 months following the termination of the disaster, even if their renewal application is/was not submitted prior to expiration.

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