As I mentioned months ago, the Illinois State Police have been unlawfully delaying FOID cards (the card that an IL resident needs to first apply for and receive before they can lawfully have a gun). In that previous article, I mentioned a few steps that citizens can take to try and get their FOID card issued if the police fail to obey the law and issue it within 30 days. I also suggest signing this petition. One visitor to this website had his FOID delayed for an extra month beyond what the law allows, and took no action (which is his choice, of course). Upon receiving his FOID, he then posted the following comment, with which I respectfully but vigorously disagree:
It took 60 days calendar days, but my FOID card finally arrived on Jan 26. I didn’t called the ISP or my Rep / Senator. I just decided to wait and see how long it would take if I did nothing. Based on the posts to this website it appears that in most cases, phone calls don’t help. I hate to say it, but it probably makes the process even slower. The time they spend on the phone handling complaints proportionately reduces the amount of time they have to complete the background checks and issue the cards. I was surprised to discover this new card is valid for 10 years (instead of 5). May’be it’ll be better in 10 years.
First, the statement that “phone calls don’t help” seems to be factually untrue. There are plenty of comments and forum posts from people who have called their state representative and/or the ISP, then gotten their FOID cards rather quickly. Just as in other aspects of life, the individuals who stand up for their rights tend to be treated better than those individuals who allow a government bureaucracy to ride roughshod over those rights. Making it known that we law abiding gun owners do not find the unlawful FOID delay acceptable is also the only way that we will ever get the government to change its practices, and issue FOID cards on time. In other words, calling/writing/emailing about your late FOID card can help you now, and helps your fellow citizens in the future.
Secondly, I would like to point out that the harms caused by the unlawful FOID delay are very real, rather than just offensive in principle, and as such require action. Without a FOID card, an Illinois citizen cannot lawful buy a gun, or even continue owning the guns they already have. The police have even been known come to seize the guns of people whose FOID cards have expired. Illinois citizens have missed hunting trips, and been left without guns for self defense due to the Illinois State Police’s unlawful delay of FOID cards.
Finally, and perhaps more concerning, is the idea that Americans would allow their right to gun ownership to be unlawfully violated by the government – without doing a single thing about it. If we gun owners (and non gun owners who respect the constitution of this country) stand idly by while the government tramples our rights, then this country will soon look like the United Kingdom or Canada, as far as gun rights go. Each of us must do our part, not just as gun owners, but as members of a free society in which the government is accountable to the people. Remember, the right to petition the government to redress a grievance (such as not getting one’s FOID on time) is not just a reasonable thing to do – it is constitutional right in and of itself. Silently allowing one’s gun rights to be violated seems unwise – and advising other gun owners to do the same strikes me as particularly unwise.
Note: My point here is only that it is important to stand up for our rights, as complacency is the surest way to see gun rights eroded to nothingness. I do not in any way intend this post as a personal attack upon the commenter who suggested that we do nothing about the FOID delay. Instead, I welcome his comment for presenting this opportunity to discuss the matter, and encourage him to comment more in the future, as differing viewpoints are what foster a productive and enjoyable debate.