Illinois Senate President says not enough votes to pass bill to require fingerprints for FOID card

Hundreds of gun owners lobbied lawmakers Tuesday to oppose Senate Bill 1966, a bill to increase fees for FOID cards and require applicants to submit fingerprints. (Photo courtesy: WJBC/File)

By Illinois Radio Network

SPRINGFIELD – A bill that would require Firearm Owner Identification card applicants to submit fingerprints to the Illinois State Police doesn’t have enough votes so far to pass the Illinois Senate.

Hundreds of gun owners gathered in Springfield on Tuesday to oppose Senate Bill 1966, which would to increase the fees for FOID cards and require fingerprints.

Michael Flowers drove from Grafton to Springfield to tell lawmakers that only criminals should have to submit fingerprints.

“But if they pass that bill, if you own a gun, you’d have to be fingerprinted,” Flowers said. “So they’re taking legal, law-abiding citizens and trying to make criminals out of them with silly laws.”

Springfield resident John Woodside said the measure would put additional burden on gun owners who follow the law while doing nothing to criminals.

“If I have to have fingerprints for that, then I’d probably be moving out of state,” Woodside said.

The measure passed the House in the Spring. Supporters said it would help the Illinois State Police to keep guns out of the hands of criminals. The increased fees would partly go to help state police confiscate revoked FOID cards.

Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, said the votes weren’t yet there to pass it out of the Senate and onto the governor’s desk.

“That bill would be in a position to require 36 votes, which I don’t think we have today,” Cullerton said.

But it wasn’t just the fingerprinting bill lawmakers may have in mind. Gun owners also have other proposed gun regulations in their sights.

Athens resident Craig Stevens said he’s concerned about so-called assault weapons bans.

“And those would take folks who are legitimate and law-abiding and it would turn them into criminals,” Stevens said.

Supporters of banning certain weapons have said it’s necessary for public safety. Lawmakers could bring forward such measures in the Spring.

The man who killed five people at an Aurora warehouse earlier this year got a FOID card after lying about a previous felony conviction in another state. He bought a gun after that application was approved. Illinois State Police later revoked the man’s FOID card in 2014 when he applied for a concealed-carry permit, which included fingerprints to speed up the application process. Illinois State Police rejected his concealed-carry application because the fingerprints submitted with that application flagged the man’s 1995 felony conviction in Mississippi. The man didn’t relinquish his FOID card or gun. ISP later reported there were more than 10,000 revocations in 2018, many of which were never confiscated.

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