Most of us, whatever our stand on the Second Amendment, would prefer that dangerous people not have guns.
And by law in Illinois, they are not supposed to. But our state has been much too lax about making sure people who are legally barred from owning guns do not, in fact, keep a few firearms around the house. Let’s get serious about this.
To buy or own a gun in Illinois, a person first must obtain a Firearm Owner’s Identification Card, which requires meeting certain standards. The card can be revoked if the owner no longer meets those standards.
But, too often, no one in authority bothers to check whether the person whose FOID card was revoked is unlawfully hanging on to guns anyway. That poses a risk to everyone around them.
People can have their gun cards revoked because they’ve been charged with a felony, convicted of domestic violence, become addicted to drugs, been a patient in a mental health facility in the previous five years or showed “violent, suicidal threatening or assaultive behavior.”
In 2015, the Sun-Times reported that the State Police were largely ignoring a state law that they track guns owned by thousands of people whose FOID cards had been revoked for mental health reasons. And over this last weekend, the Chicago Tribune reported things haven’t changed much: Although State Police revoked more than 11,000 FOID cards last year, those who lost their right to legally own guns rarely had their guns taken away.
People who have had their FOID cards revoked are supposed to fill out a form documenting that their guns have been turned over to someone else with an FOID card. But most people never fill out the form. And even if they do, the police rarely check to see whether they have followed through and actually turned over the guns.
In one case, the Tribune reported, a Crystal Lake lawyer was caught twice within about nine months with a loaded gun in has car after his FOID card had been revoked. Last year, he was accused of threatening to kill a state employee. Yet police recently found 56 handguns and rifles and thousands of rounds of ammunition in his home.
State Sen. Julie Morrison, D-Deerfield, is drafting legislation that would require police to follow up when FOID cards are revoked and make sure the cardholders don’t keep their guns. What could make more sense?
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