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  Illinois State Police News Release   

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State Police advise ATF changes will not affect FOID cards

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Press Release Date: October 28, 2008    || Archived January 13, 2009
The Illinois State Police (ISP) has received notification from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives that the Illinois Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) card will no longer qualify as an alternative to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). The notification is due to the change in the expiration of a FOID card from five to ten years effective June 1, 2008, and several recent state court decisions that required the issuance of FOID cards to federally prohibited individuals.

As thorough as the process is to ensure FOID cards are kept out of the hands of those deemed ineligible, the ISP has, on occasion, been ordered by the courts to issue a FOID card to someone who was previously denied. Although these individuals may have a FOID card in their possession, they would be denied the purchase of a firearm from a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) and are not exempt from federal prosecution. The ISP will work with the legislature to eliminate the disparity between the state and federal laws.

“The ISP takes great pride in its diligence to keep FOID cards, and ultimately weapons, away from those who should not have them,” said ISP Director Larry G. Trent. “While the ISP may not agree with this decision, the court is respected and the Agency complies accordingly.”

Prior to the FOID card change, the Brady Law, which took effect on November 30, 1998, allowed the ISP to be the mandated point of contact between a FFL and the FBI when conducting NICS background checks before transferring a firearm to an unlicensed individual. The Brady Law also contains an exemption to the NICS check requirement which allowed the five-year FOID card to qualify as an alternative to the NICS check, authorizing the ISP to conduct the NICS check when issuing a FOID card and processing firearm transfers.

The change in the FOID card’s expiration date will not affect firearm transfers since Illinois law requires a FFL to conduct a NICS background check prior to every firearm transfer, even if the person possesses a valid FOID card. The standard practice of completing daily mental health and criminal history reviews will continue on all FOID applicants and cardholders.

Illinois residents who wish to acquire or possess firearms or firearm ammunition still must have in their possession a valid FOID card.

For more information contact:
Public Information Office
Telephone: 217-782-6637
TDD: 1-800-255-3323

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