The Illinois State Rifle Association filed a lawsuit against the Illinois State Police in an effort to speed up the process of approving concealed carry licenses statewide.
According to state police, Illinois is is taking 118 days to process Firearm Owners Identification cards when the law calls for 30 days. For concealed carry licenses, officials are taking 156 days on average to process applicants, when lawmakers originally approved 90 days.
The rife association's lawsuit alleges police "have applicants in limbo for months," who are trying obtain the Illinois license, and that "the consequences are a matter of life and death."
"People who have a fundamental right to be able to defend themselves are being denied that right thanks to basically bureaucratic inefficiency," Illinois attorney David Sigale said.
Illinois State Police said they do not comment on pending litigation, but that "the Firearms Services Bureau is working diligently to complete all applicants as quickly and completely as possible."
FOID card applicant Jonathan Tennial said he applied for his card last June and needs approval before he can apply for a concealed carry license.
"Here I am. Been almost 200 and some off days and for the last three months, I've been in the final stages -- which, I guess, is just sitting on someone's desk waiting on a final approval," Tennial said.
In December 2020, Illinois residents shopped for more guns and applied for firearm permits more than any other time in the state’s history as the COVID-19 pandemic raged and Chicago dealt with civil unrest, according to state police data.
There were more than 500,000 inquiries about gun purchases through November 2020, according to Illinois State Police statistics. That is a 45% increase from 2019. The department also received 445,945 applications for firearm owner’s identification cards, a 167% increase from 166,649 applications in 2017.
Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly told the Chicago Tribune the increases were a reflection on the unease and tension seen in the state and across the country.