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shutterstock_1668328987.jpgFor any individual to legally own a gun or ammunition in Illinois, the state requires that they obtain a Firearm Owner Identification (FOID) card. While the actual process of applying for a FOID card is simple, if you have a criminal record that includes a felony conviction, you face additional challenges. At Williams & Nickl, LLC, we can help you understand the requirements of qualifying for a FOID card with a felony conviction and work to restore your gun ownership rights

Impacts of a Felony Conviction on Gun Ownership in Illinois

With a complete application, a copy of your driver’s license, a recent picture, and a $10 fee, most Illinois residents over the age of 21 can receive a FOID card. While other factors may prevent individuals from obtaining their FOID card, including a history of mental health problems or substance abuse concerns, a felony conviction can have the most lasting impact on your application. Once you are convicted of a felony, you automatically lose your ability to have or obtain a FOID card. In order to restore your eligibility, you must demonstrate to the State Police Director or a county court judge that you meet the following criteria:

  • No violent or forcible felony convictions in the last 20 years

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shutterstock_258405011.jpgStarting in 2022, the Illinois State Police (ISP) Firearms Services Bureau (FSB) has debuted a new way of getting information relating to a Firearm Owner’s Identification Card (FOID) or Conceal Carry Permit (CCL) applications. Changes to the ISP FSB Portal include new notification options, as well as self-serve Kiosks at three locations.

“The Illinois State Police Firearms Services Bureau is working diligently to ensure the statutory changes to the FOID Act will benefit the people of Illinois,” stated ISP Director Brendan F. Kelly. “This opt out option will make it easier and quicker for the public to receive notifications regarding their FOID card and/or CCL,” concluded Kelly.

The notification options include receiving emails or text messages instead of the traditional letter through the United States Postal Service (USPS). Many people who have applied for a FOID or CCL never receive their letters. Others spend months or years waiting on a response. The notification system provides a more reliable way of receiving information on the status of an application.

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shutterstock_114938944-1.jpgThe Concealed Carry Licensing Review Board, whose function is to consider any objection to an applicant's eligibility to obtain a Concealed Carry License (CCL), recently explained the various factors causing delay in issuing new licenses.  

A board member testifying in front of the Senate Executive Appointments Committee provided insights regarding the delay in the processing and review of hundreds of CCL appeals. The Board member offered valuable insight stating that sometimes the delays are the result of a lack of evidence and other materials provided by the objecting law enforcement agency.

The Concealed Carry Licensing Review Board is responsible for reviewing as many as 600 objections per month. Because of the sheer volume of applications, approvals are often delinquent. Teleconferencing has significantly improved the Board’s efficiency, but use of technology can only relieve the backlog so much.

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shutterstock_1454438033.jpgThe Supreme Court of Illinois ruled that felons may apply for restoration of firearms civil rights and describes the discretion granted to the director and courts when making their determination. 

Recently, the Supreme Court of Illinois issued its opinion in Evans v. Cook County State’s Attorney, 2021 IL 125513. Evans considered whether Section 10 of the FOID Card Act – which establishes a process for relief from firearms disabilities – automatically and permanently makes this relief unavailable to convicted of felons. The Supreme Court of Illinois determined that Section 10 of the FOID Card Act was intended to be a mechanism for firearm civil rights restoration for some convicted felons. 

Evans was convicted of two felonies in 1994. Both were related to the manufacture or delivery of a controlled substance. Evans applied for a FOID card in 2018 but was denied. The Illinois State Police’s (ISP) justification for the denial was based on federal law. The ISP argued that Section 922(g)(1) of the Federal Gun Control Act of 1968 prohibits an individual from possessing a firearm when that person “has been convicted in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year.” 

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