Illinois Judge Rules FOID Card Is Unconstitutional
It was just a few days ago that I told you about the current efforts by some lawmakers in Springfield to require fingerprinting and a higher cost for Illinoisans to get a Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card. Well, that's all been thrown into disarray now.
Quite frankly, not a minute too soon.
I've railed for years (not just me, but many people) about the Illinois FOID card, and the fact that by its very existence, you're paying to exercise a right guaranteed to you in the United States Constitution via the 2nd Amendment. You don't have to pay a fee to speak your mind because of the 1st Amendment, so why do you have to when exercising your 2nd Amendment rights?
Just for clarification, the FOID card is not a license to carry a concealed weapon (that would be a CCL, or Concealed Carry License). In Illinois, you have to go through state-mandated training before submitting your application for a CCL, which, if approved, gives you the legal right to carry your weapon.
The Illinois FOID card is something that our state has had in effect since 1968, and you need one to not only buy a gun and/or ammunition, but to even possess the weapon in your own home. That, to me, is an undeniable restriction, or to use the words in the Constitution, an infringement, of your rights.
Which brings us to White County Circuit Court Judge T. Scott Webb's Tuesday ruling on this subject. The case he ruled on began with the arrest of an elderly woman.
In 2017, Vivian Brown, an elderly resident of White County, was charged with violating the FOID card law for owning a rifle without possessing a FOID card.
In February 2018, the White County Circuit Court sided with Brown and found the FOID card law unconstitutional when applied to her case. The state appealed directly to the Illinois Supreme Court a few months later.
The bottom line is that the Illinois Supreme Court kicked the case back to the Circuit Court, and Judge Webb dismissed the charges against Ms. Brown on Tuesday. In his dismissal, after pointing out that the FOID card does little more than make criminals out of law-abiding citizens who are keeping guns at home for self-defense, he wrote (MyStateline.com):
[R]equiring a law-abiding citizen to obtain a FOID card and paying a $10 fee to exercise her Second Amendment right within the confines and privacy of her own home does little to protect the general public. If the right to bear arms and self-defense are truly core rights, there should be no burden on the citizenry to enjoy those rights, especially within the confines and privacy of their own homes. A citizen’s Second Amendment rights should not be treated in the same manner as a driver’s license.
I would think that an appeal will definitely be forthcoming, but the Illinois Attorney General's Office has not said (as of this writing) whether or not they intend to appeal Judge Webb's ruling.