Chicago is grim. Violence continues to rage in the city as 15 people were wounded in a mass shooting outside a funeral this week, while police report that armed kids as young as 10 have carjacked more than a dozen people on the city’s South Side. Yet despite this rampant chaos where criminals wreak havoc with impunity, the state of Illinois is preventing law-abiding citizens from defending themselves by denying them their Second Amendment rights.
This week, a former Marine named D’Andre Bradley teamed up with the Goldwater Institute to take a stand. On Monday, he and three other Chicago-area citizens filed a lawsuit against the state of Illinois in response to the government’s failure to issue the licenses it requires to buy or possess a firearm. Bradley appeared on WGN-TV in Chicago to explain why he’s suing the state. WGN-TV reports:
Unlike some states, Illinois law requires individuals to register for a Firearm Owner Identification before they can purchase a gun or rent one at a gun range.
New FOID cards are taking an average of 70 days to process as of June 30, according to the ISP. In the meantime, expired FOID or concealed carry cards will remain valid until 12 months following the end of Illinois’ disaster proclamation.
Former Marine D’andre Bradley applied for a FOID card from the state in late April or early May, and says over 50 days later he still hasn’t received one.
Bradley and three others filed a lawsuit with the Illinois State Rifle Association and the Goldwater Institute, arguing the delay violates their Second Amendment rights.
“I understand the fact that we’re in a pandemic but our rights shouldn’t be diminished in an emergency going on with the country right now,” Bradley said. “It’s something that the Constitution guarantees us.”
Goldwater Institute Senior Attorney Jacob Huebert, who is representing Bradley and the other plaintiffs, writes in National Review about Illinois’s law:
Illinois is one of just two states (the other is Massachusetts) that require residents to obtain a license before they can possess any firearm — even the simplest rifle or shotgun. During June’s violence and looting, applications for those licenses — called Firearm Owners Identification cards, or FOID cards — surged. On June 2 alone, the state received nearly 5,000 of them.
State law requires the Illinois state police to issue a FOID card within 30 days of receiving a resident’s application, as long as he or she isn’t disqualified by a factor such as a felony conviction or mental illness. Thirty days is a long time to wait just to be allowed to defend your life, family, and home. And to people who need to protect themselves from an immediate threat, that delay could be deadly.
But the situation Illinois’s FOID law creates is even worse than it sounds. That’s because the state doesn’t actually follow the law. Instead of sending applicants their FOID cards within 30 days, the state typically takes much longer.
This isn’t a new problem. In 2013, the state admitted that it took an average of 64 days to process applications, but people reported waiting as long as ten to 15 weeks to receive a card. Recently, the state claimed it was taking an average of 51 days to send out cards, but many applicants report they’ve been waiting 60 to 90 days or longer.
Bradley doesn’t want to wait any longer to exercise his Second Amendment rights. As he wrote in the Chicago Tribune, “This is a basic civil rights issue. Everyone has a fundamental right to self-defense. If the state is going to require a license to exercise that right, then it should at least respect its own time limit. And if it can’t or won’t do that, the courts should order it to do so — or just end the FOID scheme entirely. After all, the 48 other states without a FOID law show that Illinois has other options for promoting safe gun ownership — and respecting my rights is not optional.”
Read more about the lawsuit here.
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