The Illinois Senate could take action on a measure to require Illinois residents to submit fingerprints to get a Firearm Owners Identification card when lawmakers return this October.
A Second Amendment advocate is urging police groups to oppose the bill.
Senate Bill 1966 passed the House in May. It would increase fees FOID cards while decreasing how long the cards remain valid. It would also require applicants to submit fingerprints to get the card. The card is required to legally have a firearm or ammunition in the state.
Bill sponsor state Rep. Kathleen Willis, D-Addison, said the fingerprint requirement doesn’t violate the Second Amendment.
“In the [U.S. Supreme Court case McDonald v. City of Chicago] it states in the majority opinion, the state and local government can experiment with reasonable firearm regulations,” Willis said in floor debate.
Gun rights advocate Dane Harrel, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel from St. Claire County, said such measures don’t stop criminals.
“It seems like the focus is on the law-abiding instead of maybe pursuing existing laws and making sure those are prosecuted,” Harrel said.
Harrel said law enforcement unions and associations should oppose the measure.
“You’re noticeably absent on the dialog,” Harrel said. “You speak out on public policy issues all the time, why not this one? And if it’s bad public policy, which won’t improve our safety, why not oppose it? What do you have to lose?”
One law enforcement group, the Illinois Chiefs of Police, publicly opposes the measure, but not because of the fingerprinting mandate. In a statement, the group said it does not want local law enforcement officers to be required to search and seize a FOID card or guns from someone whose FOID card has been suspended or revoked. The group said it considers that a state and Illinois State Police issue.
The association said it’s in talks with the Sheriff’s Association and the Illinois State Police ahead of the fall legislative session.
The Senate now has the measure and could vote when lawmakers return for fall session this October.