The Illinois State Police is taking a technological leap forward in an effort to speed up the processing of Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) cards and Concealed Carry License (CCL) applications, according to a statement released Tuesday.
NBC 5 Investigates reported in August that the state’s Firearm Services Bureau was staffed with five individuals to help the thousands of people with questions about their CCL and FOID applications. Applicants reported not being able to get through to a live person when they contacted the call center. Additionally, a suburban Chicago shooting range owner explained how a survey of his customers revealed the state was taking about 120 days to process CCL applications submitted with fingerprints and 140 days for applications submitted without fingerprints. He said the process is supposed to take 90-120 days.
On Tuesday, the Illinois State Police announced via Facebook that in 2020 it plans to implement a technological solution to help CCL and FOID applicants.
“In the coming year, we plan to implement a Voice over Internet Protocol, which is a call center that will allow for new features like automated interactions and call backs,” said an ISP spokesperson. “We are committed to meeting the needs of those we serve and will continue to explore ways to better ensure we are responsive as possible.”
The Illinois State Police also said the new system will allow for better call flow and can potentially resolve issues without an agent.
“It’s an encouraging step in the right direction by the Illinois State Police,” said Dan Eldridge, gun store owner and president of Federal Firearms Licensees of Illinois, Inc.
According to the Illinois State Police, the Voice over Internet Protocol comes with an estimated start-up cost of $750,000 and a recurring a monthly cost of $10,000. The costs are being paid for through the State Police Firearm Services Fund.