I had a friend in Illinois mention that he was all for the second amendment but didn’t think it was safe for “just anyone to be able to buy a gun” as it works under current law.


After I found my voice I explained how annoyed I was with the following scenario.

“So, let’s say we’re in Illinois and you want to go hunting with me…

“But I don’t want …”

“Yes, I know that you don’t want to go hunting… I don’t want to be in Illinois… just work with me.”

Ok, so, you want to go hunting with me tomorrow morning just to find out what it’s about.  Easy enough, right?  Wrong.  For the following reasons:

1) You don’t have a FOID and,
2) Which means that you don’t have a gun and,
3) you don’t have a hunting license.

None of those are as “easy” to get as you might think.

First the FOID.  It’s required if you have guns or ammunition.  You can’t even go into a gun shop and touch a gun.  I can’t hand you a single .22 caliber bullet.  It’s illegal for you to touch them without a FOID.

So to get a FOID you download the application from the Il State police and fill out the following questions:

  • Have you ever been convicted of a felony?
  • In the past 5 years, have you been a patient in any medical facility or part of any medical facility used primarily for the care or treatment of persons for mental illness?
  • Are you addicted to narcotics?
  • Are you mentally retarded? (seriously, that’s on there)
  • Are you subject to an existing order of protection which prohibits you from possessing a firearm?
  • Within the past 5 years, have you been convicted of battery, assault, aggravated assault, violation of an order of protection, ora substantially similar offense in which a firearm was used or possessed?
  • Have you ever been convicted of domestic battery or a substantially similar offense (misdemeanor or felony)?
  • Have you ever been adjudicated a delinquent minor for the commission of an offense that if committed by an adult would be a felony?
  • Are you an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States?
  • Have you ever been adjudicated as a mental defective?

Yes, those are the real questions on the FOID application.  You’ve already seen that they’re both patronizing and offensive and that someone with any of those issues will just, well, lie.  Right?

Nope, because you see.  In order to own a firearm anywhere in Illinoise you must sign away your right to privacy.  The last paragraph on the form says this:

  • My signature authorizes the Illinois State Police to verify answers given with the Department of Human Services and any medical facility used for the care or treatment of mental illness. I hereby solemnly affirm that the information contained herein is true to the best of my knowledge. I consent to the use of my digital Illinois Driver’s License or Illinois State Identification photo and signature. I understand that I am still required to submit a photo and signature with this application.

That bit about the drivers license photo… neat trick.  They can use your DL photo but you still have to provide one… of the exact size that the want.  You may be thinking that this is for folks that don’t have a Drivers License.  Wrong.  A drivers license (or Sate issues ID card) are required in order to get a FOID so if you don’t have one you’re out of luck.

Ok, so you fill out the form.  Go and buy a photo that is EXACTLY 1.25” X 1.5” (e.g. NOT passport size) and contains only your head and shoulders and tape it to the form.  You answer all of the questions noted above and you buy a $10.00 money order and attach THAT to the form.  Once all of that’s done you mail it off to the IL state police and wait the 30 days that the form asked you to (there’s actually a law that says they shall issue your card in under 30 days… hah).

After 30 days, you call the state police on the number provided and they explain that there are delays in processing FOID’s so please don’t call back for an additional 30 days.

After an additional 30 days you call back and are told that there are more delays and please don’t call back for an additional 30 days.

So, in 30 more days you call back and are told that your card was mailed two weeks ago.  A week later it shows up.

Now you have your FOID and ready to go all Rambo on Bambi!  Well.. not quite.

First, you go to the gun store, show them your freshly minted FOID so that they’ll actually let you in and pick the gun you want.  Now, go home, wait 24 hours and come back.  Since we’re talking hunting rifles here it’s only 24 hours.  If you want a handgun, wait 7 days instead. 

After 24 hours you go back to the gun shop, present your FOID again and fill out the Federal Firearm Transaction Record which has most of the same questions presented earlier for the FOID and includes an NCIS (federal) background check to make sure that you answered the questions correctly.  Assuming that you’re not a felon you’re on your way back home in barely under 2 hours.  Here’s the form… go fill it out just for fun and see how long it takes.

So, now you’ve got a gun and you’re ready to head to the woods, right? Well, no.  In order to go hunting (in pretty much any state) you need a Hunter Safety Course.  These are run several times a year in Illinois and are always full.  Still, you can do most of the course online and get in line for the “field day” portion.  Yeah, that’s right.  Hunter safety is about 10 hours of training and another 5 hours or “practical” testing.   Seriously.

Once you have your hunter safety card you can go to most any outdoor store and purchase a license to hunt.  Don’t forget your FOID though, you’ll need that to buy ammunition.

There you have it.  I understand now why someone would think that “buying guns is just too damned easy”.



So you say…

4 thoughts on “So you say…

  • October 27, 2010 at 5:50 pm

    Field day? Seriously. Oh. My. God.

    The people of Illinois are almost as crazy as those in Minnesota and I only say almost because I don’t think Illinois has sent a Muslim to congress yet… have they?

    Good grief. It’s insane.


  • October 27, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    Oh… wow! I meant to save this as a draft and not publish it yet. Ouch, now you get to see how well I really write.

  • October 27, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    I thought it was just fine…

    And I still can’t believe a ‘field day’ for a bunch of hunter wannabes…

    I don’t know about you, but there are some people I wouldn’t want to go out into the woods with, safety course or not.


  • October 27, 2010 at 6:57 pm

    Field days tend to be more about ensuring that you can safely handle a weapon. They’re generally handled at shooting ranges rather than actually being in the “field”. I taught a few of them back in the day. They’re review of the safety content, time on the gun range with an instructor and a few other activities to help drive home the lesson.

    I don’t have a problem hunting with most folks but I’ve been around this stuff my whole life and don’t have a problem unloading someone else’s gun for them.


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