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Gun owner ID card wait more than two months

Much tax increment financing funds coming this year for East Dundee are committed for previously approved projects including upgrades GAT

Much of the tax increment financing funds coming in this year for East Dundee are committed for previously approved projects including upgrades to GAT Guns on Route 25. | Sun-Times Media file photo

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Updated: April 28, 2013 6:28AM

The wait for Illinois Firearm Owner’s Identification cards is more than 60 days, and the Illinois State Police Firearms Service Bureau is in the midst of its busiest month ever processing applications for them.

Illinois State Police spokeswoman Monique Bond said Tuesday that the wait typically now is about 64 days. According to Bond, more than 70,000 FOID card applications already have been received by the state police in March, putting it on track to be the all-time record month thus far for the Firearm Owner’s Identification Card program.

Greg Tropino Sr., president of GAT Guns in East Dundee, said he’s hearing from his customers that the wait is even longer than the two months the ISP says — about 10 to 15 weeks for getting the ID card that gun owners in Illinois are required by law to have. Tropino noted the wait is supposed to be 30 days or less.

“When people start hearing or thinking that things might be banned, they tend to run out and buy those things while they can,” Tropino suggested as to why FOID card applications might be so high.

According to the Firearm Owner’s Identification Information page chart on the ISP website, record months have been the course since December, when 31,249 applications were received. In January, 61,172 people applied for a card, and in February there were 56,078 applications.

Last year, the state received 338,614 applications, the highest yearly total on the website chart, which tracks back to 2006. The total for the first three months of 2013 is nearing 188,000, or more than half the applications received for all of 2012.

The Champaign-based News-Gazette recently reported it had obtained data from the Illinois State Police through a Freedom of Information Act request that showed about 1.5 million state residents, or 11.5 percent of Illinoisans, now have FOID cards. It said that at the end of January the backlog on processing FOID cards was more than 70,000.

With demand so high, a customer service phone line set up for FOID card information — which operates weekdays from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. — has been extremely busy, too. A call placed to the number Tuesday morning lasted about 10 minutes before being transferred to a recorded message that noted the high call volume and suggested calling back later, then disconnected. The message noted that the wait for getting a FOID card currently is more than 60 days.

According to the ISP site, the state’s FOID card was created in 1968 through the FOID Act as a way to identify those eligible to possess and acquire firearms and ammunition.

Cards are valid for 10 years and cost $10 to process. Applications are available at gun retailers or on the ISP website and require a form and payment to be mailed to a post office box in Springfield.

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