Amish Gun Owners Face Tough Choice

Police want photos of Amish for FOID cards

Sunday, Mar 13, 2011  |  Updated 12:00 PM CDT
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Amish Gun Owners Face Tough Choice

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The Amish don't want their photos taken so they can own a gun.

Amish gun owners in Illinois face a showdown over their religious teachings and their Second Amendment rights, after a change in policy may require them to have their picture taken for their Firearm Owners Identification card, according to the Mattoon Journal-Gazette.

The Amish have a religious edict against having their photo taken. Up till now, the state had allowed them to obtain an FOID card without a photo, as is required of every other gun owner. But last month, the state police director reversed that policy, and said photos would be required of every gun owner, Amish or not.

The sheriff of Douglas County, considered to be the heart of Illinois' Amish country, said many of them are rifle hunters to bring home food. If the new policy is enforced, many Amish would find themselves facing a tough choice – lose that source of food and protection, or violate their religious teachings.

The issue is complicated even further by the state attorney general recently ruling that FOID information can be made public. The Amish lead sequestered lives and strive to keep society at large out of their affairs.  The possibility of making their photos public would make the whole prospect doubly offensive.

Illinois state police officials and some state representatives held a meeting last week to discuss the concerns and any possible alternatives. There’s been no word of if, or when the new photo requirement for the Amish will be enforced.

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