Springfield, IL - The Director of Illinois State Police is pushing for change to the FOID card program a year after the Aurora warehouse mass shooting. The gunman, who killed five coworkers and injured five officers, had his FOID card revoked in 2014, but he was never forced to turn in his gun.
Director Brendan Kelly says nearly 42,000 people have had their FOID cards revoked since 2015. But over 31,000 people could still have their guns illegally. With that ratio, Kelly says the odds are too high that another tragedy may occur.
Kelly adds there are over 7 million firearms ownership prohibiting records across the country that aren't readily available in background check databases. He says firearms shouldn't be in the hands of those who have been barred from possessing them.
"Because a form letter sent only at the time of revocation isn't enough, we committed to sharing FOID revocation data with any law enforcement agency at any time. That is done," Kelly explained. "We created a web portal accessible by any criminal justice agency in this state at any time."
The Director says FOID revocation data is also available on that portal. This data includes the causes for revocation, such as new offenses or a clear and present danger to the public. Kelly believes police need more resources to make sure the people who shouldn't have guns, don't have access to them.
Improving access to fingerprints
Kelly says the victims and survivors of the Aurora shooting deserve honesty and the best efforts from police. He explained Senate Bill 1966 could bring in close to $6.2 million a year in grant funding for FOID card enforcement.
"That bill will provide additional resources necessary to sustain and improve our efforts to improve our access to fingerprint-associated records across the country, and to support local law enforcement's ability to accomplish this public safety mission," said Kelly.
The proposal would also drop the FOID card renewal period to five years, instead of 10. That bill passed out of the House last Spring before stalling in the Senate. Kelly hopes the plan will gain enough support in the coming months to make it to the Governor's desk. Pritzker has previously announced his support for the bill.