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FOID card applications surge in Illinois

Published: Nov. 17, 2020 at 10:10 PM CST
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - An increase in demand and applications for firearm owner identification cards lead to long waits to purchase certain weapons. The Illinois State police say there has been a drastic increase in applications for FOID cards, and that it takes time to review the apps to ensure guns are purchased safely.

“The FOID card is again to make sure that they hit all the criteria to be able to carry a weapon," Winnebago County Sheriff Gary Caruana said.

An application influx backs up the firearm purchasing process. Owner of Madison Guns in Loves Park Tom Madison says the delays cost him and other shop owners in the state important dollars and cents.

“It’s putting us behind it probably cost us 15 to 20 million a year just for the system when we could just use the federal system,” Madison said.

The Illinois State Police did provide some insight behind the application backup. The state averaged 28,628 applications per month from July to October of 2020. Up more than 45% from 2019 when the state averaged 13,019 a month in that same time span. As of November 16, 2020, there are 139,801 new FOID pending applications.

Madison says the delays have been difficult to manage, but it has not kept potential new gun owners away from his store.

“People are waiting about 180 days, I have other people that are waiting from November or December for their FOID’s," Madison said. “80 to 90 percent of my customers right now are brand new customers.”

Madison says the pandemic does play a role when it comes to the demand for weapons in the state, and he thinks it’s only going to grow.

“The weapon sales aren’t gonna go down at all I see them surging probably four to five times what they are currently," Madison said.

The Illinois State Police says it plans to hire more analysts to review applications, but those analysts have to go through a training program that is at least six months long.

If you have a pending FOID card application, you can check the status of the application on the Firearm Services Bureau website.

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