March 2020 Legislative Report

March 9, 2020

Legislative Update 

The 2020 spring session of the Illinois Legislature is starting to get busy. One bill we’ve heard about before is back. Senate Bill 1966 is moving again and is now in the Senate Judiciary Committee.  SB1966, if passed, would require you to pay for your own fingerprints and your own background check to get a FOID card and force everyone to go through an FFL to transfer firearms.  The bill would also raise the fee for a FOID card to $20 for five years. 

In other news, Representative Patrick Windhorst (R-118th Harrisburg) is a sponsor of House Bill 4447.  This bill would allow FOID card and ICCL holders to apply for renewals 180 days in advance and would not affect their expiration date, which means no lost time.

Representative Windhorst also has HB4448 and HB4450.  HB4448 would require the ISP to automatically renew a person’s FOID card if it expires during the term of their ICCL.  This would prevent midterm cancellations of their ICCL which is an ongoing problem.  HB4450 would require the ISP to either act on an appeal for reinstatement because of a denial, revocation or seizure of a FOID card within 30 days or issue a denial of the FOID card within 60 days. We will track these and any other bills which affect our gun rights over the next few months and keep you informed. 

Please don’t forget this year’s Illinois Gun Owners Lobby Day (IGOLD) is Wednesday, April 1st. We will begin at the Bank of Springfield Center and march to the state capitol complex. The doors at the BOS open at 10:00 a.m. and the program will begin at 11:45 a.m.

Lastly, if you are not a member of the Illinois State Rifle Association, please consider joining. The ISRA is the primary gun rights group lobbying to protect our 2nd Amendment rights in the Illinois General Assembly. They need our support.

Pat Keen, ALGC Legislative Director

January 2020 Legislative Report

January 20, 2020

Legislative Update

The Illinois General Assembly officially started the Spring Session January 8th, . There hasn’t been much work on legislative bills yet as the Senate has been in the process of selecting a new President for that body. As far as moving legislation, things should begin to pick up in the next week or so. Now that both medical and recreational cannabis are legal in Illinois, there are several things gun owners should keep in mind if they choose to participate.

Since cannabis is still a schedule I drug and illegal under federal law, the use of it is a prohibitor when it comes to a federal firearms background check. When a firearm is purchased from or through a federal firearms dealer (FFL), the buyer must complete Form 4473, on which the buyer must answer a question about habitual cannabis use. If the buyer admits to habitually using cannabis, it will prohibit the FFL from completing the transaction.

In Illinois, with our FOID card requirement, when a buyer purchases a firearm from an FFL, the seller communicates the buyers FOID information to the Illinois State Police (ISP) for a background check. The ISP performs not only a name based criminal history check on the buyer but also runs the individual in the FBI’s National Instant Check System (NICS). Here’s where it gets tricky. Participants in the medial marijuana program are issued a medical marijuana card in order to purchase from a dispensary. Illinois disregards federal law and does not automatically revoke a FOID when an individual gets a medical cannabis card. However, the federal government will still prohibit the firearm transfer based upon the cannabis prohibitor. This doesn’t stop a buyer with a medical marijuana card (and a FOID) from walking into a Walmart or other retail outlet and purchasing ammunition, as there is no background check on ammunition purchases. The medical marijuana card just acts as a prohibitor for firearms transactions when the sale is through an FFL.

And it gets even murkier. Several years ago, Illinois enacted legislation which mandates a background check in a private party (No FFL involvement) firearms transaction. One individual selling a firearm to another mandates the seller enter the buyer’s FOID information into the ISP website and only proceed with the sale if the background check is clear. Now, since Illinois doesn’t want to discriminate against persons with a medical marijuana card, the ISP is recommending sellers not submit the name for a background check if the seller knows the buyer has a medical marijuana card, as the transaction would be denied by NICS. Confusing to say the least and this will not change until the federal government changes the status of Cannabis from a Schedule 1 drug.

Now that Illinois allows the legal sale of recreational cannabis, one wonders how it will affect gun owners in our state. Apparently when purchasing recreational cannabis the vendor makes a photocopy of the buyer’s identification. It is unknown what, if any affect this will have on someone’s firearms rights.

The annual IGOLD event will be held on Wednesday, April 1st. This is an extremely important event for Illinois gun owners as it allows us to make our voices heard by our legislators. A large turnout sends a message to those in the State Capitol just how many Illinoisans cherish their 2nd Amendment rights. Just look at what is currently happening in other states, especially Virginia, and you can see what we will be faced with here in Illinois if the anti-gun movement are successful at pushing their agenda here.

We will continue to post legislative updates regarding your 2nd Amendment rights as the Spring session evolves.