AURORA, Illinois (WGEM) -- Gov. JB Pritzker signed legislation Monday which expands background checks on all gun sales in Illinois and provides mental health funding for communities most impacted by gun violence, among other life-saving measures.
The legislation is the latest effort by the Pritzker administration and General Assembly to address gun violence as a public health crisis, building on the $128 million investment in violence prevention programs included in this year’s state budget.
“The bill I sign today delivers to Illinoisans everywhere the most comprehensive reform to our state firearms laws in over a generation. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have come together to shape a law steeped in a commonsense commitment to safety,” said Gov. JB Pritzker. “The state will now require universal background checks on all gun sales in Illinois. We’re also taking action to ensure responsible gunowners aren’t held back by an antiquated licensing system – which hasn’t seen significant updates since its founding more than 50 years ago.”
According to the governor's office, passing with bipartisan support, House Bill 562 makes sweeping modernizations to the Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card system, which hasn’t been updated since its creation over 50 years ago. In the last decade, the number of Illinoisans with a FOID Card has nearly doubled without modernization of statutory framework or technology – from 1.2 million in 2010 to 2.2 million today.
The legislation does the following:
- Expands background checks to all gun sales in Illinois starting in 2024.
- Invests in community-based, trauma-informed mental health programs in the communities most impacted by gun violence.
- Properly funds the Illinois State Police’s ability to enforce the surrender of firearms from people who have lost their license for gun ownership.
- Requires ISP to remove guns from people with revoked FOID cards who have not surrendered their weapon.
- Amends how FOID card fees are distributed: $5 will go to the State Police Firearm Services Fund and $5 will go into the State Police Revocation Enforcement Fund (previously, $6 went to the Wildlife and Fish Fund, $1 to the State Police Services Fund, and $3 to the State Police Firearm Services Fund).
- Creates a stolen gun database and requires ISP to continuously monitor state and federal databases for prohibited gun buyers.
- Creates stronger identification factors, like fingerprints, so Illinois State Police can more easily verify the identity of FOID applicants and firearm purchasers, as well as increase the frequency of background checks. Allows responsible gunowners who opt into this process to see their FOID and Concealed Carry applications expedited and automatically renewed going forward.
- Streamlines the FOID card system by allowing ISP to create electronic records, creating a combined FOID and concealed carry license, offering cardholders the ability to apply for renewal six months before the expiration date, and establishing a professional appeals board.
- Formalizes in law preventative actions the Illinois State Police has taken under Director Brendan Kelly’s leadership: giving all Illinois law enforcement agencies access to the FOID status of any individual, ensuring State Police continuously monitor federal and state databases for any new threat to safety, requiring every Illinois law enforcement agency to submit ballistics information to national crime databases within 48 hours, and making available to the public all firearms reported stolen to crack down on illegal gun trafficking.
“Effective violence prevention requires a multi-faceted approach, and partnerships between local law enforcement and state and federal government agencies are critical in order to reduce gun violence and violent crime in communities throughout Illinois,” Attorney General Kwame Raoul said. “I appreciate Governor Pritzker recognizing this and signing House Bill 562 into law as another important step in our collective goal to prevent violent crime. I look forward to continuing to use the tools within my office and building upon our partnerships with law enforcement agencies and advocacy groups to work to prevent violent crimes and support crime victims across the state.”
“The ISP welcome the signing of this bill which modernizes FOID and eliminates redundant and duplicative processes that do nothing to improve public safety. This act will help us in our mission to make lawful gun ownership easier for the good guys while keeping guns out of the hands of those who threaten public safety,” said ISP Director Brendan F. Kelly.
“This is the type of lasting change the people of our state need and deserve,” said House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch. “Never again will we allow another senseless tragedy like the mass shooting in Aurora, where a convicted felon killed five innocent people and wounded several others, to happen on our watch. With this bill we are giving our state police additional money and resources to ensure law abiding citizens can exercise their second amendment rights, while also equipping our officers with the tools to keep them out of the hands of individuals who present a danger to themselves or others.”
“With the help of a broad coalition of legislators, we are finally able to modernize the back-logged FOID system to ease the process for law-abiding residents while helping prevent those who should not have a gun from getting one,” said Leader Jay Hoffmann (D-Belleville, IL). “I thank the parents and advocates who helped push this issue, and I thank Governor Pritzker for signing this balanced, comprehensive bill into law that will save lives.”
“This consequential piece of legislation modernizes our decades-old FOID system and ensure we keep firearms out of the hands of people who are a danger to themselves and others, while at the same time streamlines the process for responsible gun owners,” said state Sen. Dave Koehler (D-Peoria). “As gun violence continues to devastate families across the country, Illinois is taking a major step forward in leading the effort to keep people safe and families together.”
“This critical legislation will keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people through implementing universal background checks, empowering partners in law enforcement to act before the next tragedy can occur, and dedicating life-saving mental health funding to communities most impacted by gun violence,” said Senator Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago).
“I applaud the 102nd General Assembly for taking decisive and life-saving actions that will, among other things, strengthen enforcement and hopefully prevent unnecessary tragedies in the future,” said Aurora Mayor Richard C. Irvine. “As the Governor signs HB0562 today, may we remember the lives and legacies of Russell Beyer, Vicente Juarez, Clayton Parks, Josh Pinkard and Trevor Wehner who devastating lost their lives at Henry Pratt. While we can’t change the past, we can change laws for the future, and I do hope this brings some measure of comfort to their families, knowing that their lives were not lost in vain.”
“Two and a half years ago, our Aurora community was ripped apart when a disgruntled employee shot and killed five colleagues at the Henry Pratt Company and wounded five of our officers with a gun he should have never had,” said Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman. “This bill will reduce the chance of someone slipping through the cracks, and I thank our state lawmakers and Governor Pritzker for signing this important legislation into law to protect all of our communities.”
“Today our coalition delivered, organizing to ensure Governor Pritzker and legislators from both parties could take a major step forward in reducing the gun violence that plagues Illinois every day, in particular our Black and Brown communities,” said Kathleen Sances, President of Gun Violence Prevention PAC Illinois. “While the scourge of gun violence is a major equity issue that will not go away overnight, survivors and violence prevention advocates across the country can look at our coalition’s major victory and know that we can pass common sense measures that save lives without infringing on the rights of law-abiding gun owners. We thank Governor Pritzker for his support for this bill, the second major piece of gun violence prevention legislation he has signed into law.”
“Since Axel and I lost Clay at the Henry Pratt Co. shooting, I have worked to keep his memory and legacy alive,” said Abby Parks, widow of Henry Pratt shooting victim Clay Parks. “Part of that work means addressing the fact that Clay and the four others taken that day could still be with us if illegal guns were not left in the hands of people with revoked FOID cards. House Bill 562, which Governor Pritzker signed today, requires Illinois State Police to remove guns from people who have their FOID cards revoked but do not relinquish their weapons, like the man who killed Clay. Thank you, Governor Pritzker, for honoring Clay and those lost that day with action by signing this bill.”
HB 562 takes effect January 1, 2022 except universal background checks which take effect January 1, 2024.