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State Police Sued Over FOID Card Delays

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A pair of gun-rights groups have sued the Illinois State Police for taking too long to process paperwork required to own and carry firearms.

Mike Smith reports.

The Illinois State Rifle Association and the Second Amendment Foundation filed a lawsuit on behalf of two Illinois residents, Ryan A. Thomas and Goran Lazic, who said they’ve been waiting for their Firearm Owner’s Identification cards and Concealed Carry Licenses since 2017.

Attorney David Sigale said he tried working with the State Police to speed up the process. But with no results, he was left with no other option but to sue.

“We’re just going to sit on your license application, your FOID appeal, your renewal, we’re just going to sit on it and passively deny people’s rights, and that’s what’s happening here,” Sigale said.

Thomas lost his licenses when he moved out of state, but since moving back has not been able to get them restored.

Lazic’s licenses were taken away after he was arrested for domestic battery. Since then the charges were dropped and the arrest was expunged, but he has not been able to get his licenses back.

Sigale said the State Police are effectively denying the men’s Second Amendment rights by sitting on their applications.

“It’s just a matter of fairness. I mean, these people are treated terribly,” Sigale said. “That’s not fair, that’s not just. I mean, they should have had their license back years ago.”

Sigale said he hopes the case will result in a system that processes appeals and renewals in a timely and efficient manner.

In an emailed statement, Illinois State Police spokeswoman Beth Hundsdorfer said last year, 90 percent of applicants saw their paperwork processed in less than 30 days. She said it took an average of 65 days to renew a FOID card in 2019.

Copyright 2021 NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS. To see more, visit NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS.

Mike Smith is the graduate Public Affairs Reporting intern for the spring 2020 legisltive session.