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Illinois Judge Rules FOID Cards Violate Second Amendment Rights

 Posted on April 29, 2021 in Criminal Defense

Will County criminal defense attorney for firearm chargesCurrent Illinois state law requires residents to have a valid Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card in order to purchase or possess a firearm or ammunition. Failure to have a FOID card can result in misdemeanor or felony charges, depending on the circumstances and the criminal record of the individual being charged. However, a recent ruling by an Illinois judge and a new bill working its way through the Illinois legislature could change all that.

Court Ruling

A White County Circuit Court judge has ruled that requiring citizens to have a FOID card is unconstitutional. The ruling was made in a criminal case from 2017 where an elderly White County resident was charged with violating the law because she owned a rifle but did not have a FOID card. The judge dismissed the charges against the woman, saying that requiring a FOID card violates both the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article I, section 22 of the Illinois Constitution of 1970.

This was the second time the case was dismissed in the county court. A prior ruling in 2018 also ruled that the charges violated the woman’s rights, prompting the state to immediately appeal the ruling to the Illinois Supreme Court. The higher court did not hear the case, sending it back to the lower court because of questions regarding the process the lower court used to reach its decision.

The latest ruling will likely make its way back to the Illinois Supreme Court on appeal.

New Bill

While the recent FOID ruling goes through the appeals process, Illinois lawmakers are also working towards eliminating the FOID requirement. If House Bill 1770 passes, it would mean that people would no longer be required to apply for a FOID card. Critics of the current law say that not only does it violate a person’s Second Amendment rights, but the time it now takes for the state to process card applications has become too long and frustrating. As of the beginning of the year, applicants are waiting an average of 120 days to receive their FOID cards.

FOID cards have been required in Illinois since 1968. Currently, Hawaii, Massachusetts, and New Jersey are the only other states that require identification cards for firearm owners.

Contact a Joliet Criminal Defense Attorney

As of today, there is still a FOID card requirement in the state. If you have been charged with a FOID violation or any other weapons-related offense, you need aggressive representation from a skilled Will County weapons charges defense lawyer. Call McNamara Phelan McSteen, LLC today at 815-727-0100 to schedule a free consultation and find out how we can help.





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