Illinois House Passes Bill Requiring Fingerprints to Obtain Gun License

The Illinois House of Representatives passed a bill on May 29 that would require residents to give their fingerprints in order to obtain a firearm license. The bill passed 62-52, and now moves on to the Illinois Senate.

State Representative Julie Morrison (D-Ill.) declared, “Fingerprinting increases our ability to look at records in other states, so it’s a huge advantage and one I think Illinois needs to seriously look at.”

As reported by the Chicago Tribune, the law would also establish a special task force that would enforce the removal of all firearms in the possession of a gun owner who had had their license revoked.

The bill would also reportedly make it possible to impose delays in legal firearm transfers, criminalize private transfers, and mandate an additional background check, if gifted a firearm (even if they already possess a Firearm Owner’s Identification card).

A FOID is restricted under this law, reducing its longevity from 10 years to 5 years and requiring the applicant to pay for the fingerprinting process, which can cost up to $150, in addition to any application fees, stated the NRA.

 

State Representative Charlie Meier (R-Ill.), argued that instead of invasive fingerprint records, Illinois ought to enforce gun laws already on the books.

“I am against the fingerprinting,” said Meier. “I believe we have far exceeded going against our Second Amendment rights in trying to fingerprint our citizens. The shooter in Aurora should have been caught by the laws we already have. He was breaking the laws we already have. What does fingerprinting honest citizens have to do with it?”

The fingerprinting legislation has been introduced as a solution to gun violence, such as the deadly workplace shooting in Aurora, Illinois on Feb. 15, in which six people were killed and six injured.

Democratic House members have pointed out that although the Aurora, Ill.,  killer possessed a FOID, he had a criminal conviction that ought to have nullified his license, reported the New York Times.

Democrats have also claimed that the fingerprint bill supplements an already flawed FOID system, which they say does not prevent gun applicants from putting misinformation on their FOID card.

Kathleen Sances, president of the Illinois Gun Violence Prevention Action Committee, said, “Our FOID card system is clearly broken. It’s prudent that lawmakers act as soon as they can to prevent another mass shooting in our state.”

The State Journal Register reported that, “The Illinois State Rifle Association will bring legal action against the bill should it become law. The executive director of ISRA has already said that the bill is, ‘an affront to every gun owner in the state.’”

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