Gun Control Problem in Illinois, over 80,000 Residents Ignore Firearm Laws

Estimated read time 4 min read

A report from Cook County Sheriff’s office shows about 84,000 Illinois residents should not own firearms but do. These people make up around 74% of the 114,000 whose Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) got cancelled due to legal or mental health reasons.


Problems in Law Enforcement and Legislative Response

Sheriff Tom Dart wants $10 million from state legislators to help his office enforce gun laws. This money would mostly be used to train and equip officers whose job it is to collect guns from those who have had their FOID cards revoked. This issue became more urgent after tragic events like the 2019 shooting at Henry Pratt Co. where a shooter, with illegal gun ownership, killed five workers.


Main Points of the Report,

  • Why FOID Cards Get Revoked, FOID cards can get revoked for many reasons, including felony convictions, mental health issues or protective orders.
  • Present Disobedience, of nearly 114,000 people with revoked FOID cards, an alarming number of about 84,000 still have guns.
  • Suggested Legal Measures, recent suggestions include raising the firearm transaction fee from $2 to $10 to increase funding for law enforcement.


Understanding How Big the Issue of Noncompliance Is,

Despite having regulations in place and a high need for enforcement against them, Illinois continues having trouble making sure those who lost their FOID rights follow the law. These ongoing problems present some challenges,

  •  Money Problems, many local police departments don’t have enough funds in their budgets making it hard to give priority to firearm revocation cases.
  • Danger To Officer Safety, the danger from taking firearms can present significant risks to law enforcement officers. This risk often discourages them from heavily pursuing FOID violation cases.

Dart started addressing these problems even before the Aurora shooting by creating a specialized team in 2013 to handle dangerous situations involving people with mental health problems and revoked FOID cards. However, the issue has only become worse since then, showing how persistent these issues are for law enforcement.


Steps Taken by The State and Public Safety Measures

The Illinois State Police took active measures to monitor compliance better. They set up a comprehensive database that tracks those with revoked FOID cards in 2019 and have shown some progress since then. But there is still concern about the backlog of disobedient gun owners.

Laws passed in 2023 gave more money for enforcing these laws but reports show that not all of this money has been used effectively by Dart’s office. This indicates challenges or inefficiencies within administrative operations might still need addressing.


Opinions From the Community and Law Enforcement,

Sheriff Tom Dart expressed his concerns about this ongoing problem and stressed the need for better law enforcement and awareness within communities, “It’s not just about predicting who will commit a crime but taking action against those we already know break laws by having guns illegally. This problem isn’t only logistic but is also a severe public safety threat.”

Support and Obstacles in Legislation,

  • Support, representative Bob Morgan supports increasing fees to fund enforcement efforts because of his personal experience with gun violence in his district.
  • Against, Gun rights groups, including the Illinois State Rifle Association, do not want fee increases. Their reason is that it would unfairly place too much burden on gun owners who obey the law.


Future Directions and Suggested Solutions,

To improve public safety, several strategies have been suggested,

  • More Funding, Advocates ask for higher financial support for law enforcement, so they have the resources needed to enforce gun laws effectively.
  • Awareness In the Community, making the public more aware about gun safety and legal requirements for FOID cardholders could help compliance rates get better. “We need to do better,” Dart urges.

“We cannot let people who clearly and urgently present a danger keep their guns. This issue of public safety needs immediate and full attention.”

As Illinois handles these tests, how effective laws and enforcement efforts are will be crucial in forming the state’s ability to enforce firearm regulations and prevent future tragedies. The continuing debate and what actions result from it will greatly affect communities across the state’s safety.

Celina Brooks

Celina Brooks from Mussoorie is a Writer & Researcher. She earned her Engineering degree in IT from Rutgers University. She is a technology enthusiast but loves writing and talking about local news as well. She is a jolly person with 2 children.

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