The first person to look me in the eye and tell me that the Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card system needed to be fixed was an 8th grader.
We were talking about the Michael Arquero case. I'd come across the case while doing research, and thought it was a great way to dive into the nitty gritty of gun laws surrounding ownership.
The kids definitely got into the story. It's quite intriguing. A young man with a tumultuous early life ends up going to jail for a felony. This simple fact means he is no longer eligible in the state of Illinois to own a firearm. However, he goes on to completely turn his life around. Becomes an EMT, starting a family, and even changes his name to finalize his identity change. However, he goes on to successfully apply for a FOID card.
How? You don't have to offer a fingerprint to get a FOID card. A fingerprint would have been the only identifier to link him to his former life, and thus his felony conviction. He then goes on to get his concealed carry license. Finally, in an altruistic act, he returns fire during what appears to be a random drive-by shooting.
Now, things get a little hairy. Police respond to the shots fired. They arrive to see a random guy swinging a gun around. I imagine that Michael Arquero has not had a lot of positive interactions with the police, and whatever exchange happens at this point, he ends up getting shot, because ultimately, when police show up, they don't really know if you're the "good guy with the gun" or not.
Once he's taken to the hospital, and in discussion of being charged for the death of a young man involved in the shooting, he's fingerprinted. And what do you know...Michael is a felon. So he's then hit with felony possession of a firearm, and a big "WTF?" as to how he got licensed to have a weapon in the first place.
"That's messed up. It's messed up that he got arrested after trying to help people, but he shouldn't have had the gun anyway. They need to fix that."
I share that story to illustrate that you don't have to be a genius (not to insinuate that the 8th grader in question was not a genius, but in actuality, he was not, but a pleasant bright kid nonetheless), or a politician, or a great political thinker to see the many holes, and issues, with the current FOID card system.
I applied for my FOID card using my phone, including taking the picture, and paying the $10 fee. That breaks down to $1 a year...for a license...to carry a gun. WTF?
And as a side note...no, I don't know Michael Arquero, have never met him, and do feel bad that he found himself in that situation. It ultimately is a complicated situation, but I tend to be a pretty stringent rule follower, so yeah.
But right now, there is a push in Springfield to fix the issues with the FOID card system, and if you read local news media at all, you've surely heard about it. If you haven't, let me help you:
More than 34,000 Illinoisans have lost their right to own a gun. Nearly 80% may still be armed. | Chicago Tribune
If you don't read any others, I highly recommend you read that first article by the Chicago Tribune. It is a very well done investigative piece, and the reporters who worked on it did a fabulous job. Kudos to you all.
So why is this such a hot topic now? Well, as you may have read from one of the articles above, this issue jumped into the spotlight following the recent mass shooting in Aurora, IL. Unfortunately, the perpetrator should never have received a FOID card to begin with. Then, when he got caught up for domestic abuse, his FOID card was revoked, however he retained his weapon...the same weapon which he used to kill multiple people at his place of employment.
The 'Fix The FOID' Act would help make sure this doesn't happen again.
The key points of the bill:
- Requiring a point-of-sale background check for all gun sales, including those by an unlicensed seller
- Requiring FOID applicants to submit fingerprints as part of their application
- Improved In-Court Enforcement
- Requiring action by Illinois State Police (ISP) to remove guns once a FOID Card is revoked
- Reducing the FOID Card duration from 10 years to 5 years
- Improved Information Sharing
While no one action is going to be the end all of gun violence, this is a really smart, and effective step. One that I think Illinois definitely needs.
But don't take my word for it. Read up. And once you have, you should reach out to your elected representatives (State Senator and State Representative) and ask them to support this important legislation, and if they are already supporting it, thank them for doing so.
Had you heard about 'Fix The FOID' prior to today? Where'd you hear about it? Have you reached out to your elected officials? Make some noise down below in the comments section!!
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This post was created on a HP Pavilion x360.
I hate this computer.