Brown decision could undo legal basis for Illinois’s FOID card law
The FOID card has long been the bane of 2nd Amendment advocates in Illinois because it is often used as a bludgeon to punish honest citizens. The FOID card is an unnecessary layer of bureaucracy that robs honest citizens of their time and money.
A 2019 Chicago Tribune analysis of people whose FOID cards were revoked revealed that nearly 27,000 of the 34,000 Illinois residents from 2015-2019 who had FOID cards revoked had not informed authorities what they did with their guns. In other words, about 78 percent of the people who had FOID cards revoked still possessed firearms, which begs the question what is the point of the FOID card?
This is the question Vivian Brown has been asking since 2017 when she was arrested for violating the FOID Act after her estranged husband called the police claiming that she had a gun inside her home.
While there was no evidence that a gun had been fired, the officers found a .22-caliber single-shot, bolt-action rifle in her bedroom. She said the gun was for protection. She was over 21 and because she had no criminal record or history of mental illnesses and she wanted to challenge her arrest for not possessing a FOID card because had she applied for one – she would have been eligible to receive one.
Brown could not afford to take this issue to court and so the Illinois State Rifle Association and the Second Amendment Foundation stepped in and took the issue to court and in 2018, a judge in White County sided with Brown and ruled the FOID card unconstitutional.
The Illinois Supreme Court kicked the case back to the trial court citing issues with the methodology used in the decision and so last April White County Judge T. Scott Webb issued a ruling in which he dismissed the charges against Brown and ruled the FOID card law was unconstitutional, saying it makes the Second Amendment a “facade,” turning a right into a privilege.
Webb noted that the “FOID Card Act does not ban possession of a gun in an individual’s own home for self-defense. It merely requires that an individual obtain a license before to do so…The Court finds this assertion is a distinction without a difference. Without the license, it is unlawful to possess such a firearm inside one’s home. Thus, it has the same ultimate effect as an outright ban. It just gets to the same end by different means.”
Webb went on to say, “If the right to bear arms and self-defense are truly core rights, there should be no burden on the citizenry to enjoy those rights, especially within the confines and privacy of their own homes. A citizen’s Second Amendment rights should not be treated in the same manner as a driver’s license.”
Judge Webb’s ruling has the potential to finally knock out Illinois’ arcane FOID card for good. The Second Amendment is a right – not a privilege. Driving a car is a privilege and the government has the right to demand people complete an exam and a driver’s test to legally drive. Government does not have the Constitutional authority to treat a right like a privilege.
The Second Amendment is a basic right of Americans. The FOID Act is intrusive and unnecessary. The whole reason the Illinois State Rifle Association got involved in the Brown case was because an honest, law abiding citizen was arrested for not having a FOID card when thousands of people have had their FOID cards revoked for domestic violence and other crimes and nearly 80 percent of them are still in possession of firearms.
The intent of the FOID Act is to get guns out of the hands of criminals but the net effect of the law is to punish law abiding citizens.
Judge Webb is absolutely correct in his assessment. The FOID card does make the 2nd Amendment a façade. Hopefully, the Illinois Supreme Court will also recognize the absurdity and unconstitutionality of Illinois’ FOID Act.
Every once in a while, there is a bright spot in our day. One of those bright spots popped last week in the form of a court ruling. U.S. District Court Judge Roger Benitez of San Diego, California, struck down California’s so-called assault weapons ban declaring it unconstitutional. The lawsuit was brought by Jim Miller et al. The et al includes other California residents, Second Amendment Foundation, Firearms Policy Coalition, California Gun Rights Foundation and several other groups. Judge Benitez stated in his decision, “Like the Swiss Army Knife, the popular AR15 is the perfect combination of a home defense weapon and homeland defense equipment, good for home defense and battle.” Of course, California Governor Gavin Newsom and California Attorney General Rob Bonita are squalling like a couple of long tailed cats in a room full of rocking chairs. What else could we expect from these two darlings of the left wing?
The Judge points out that in California, you are 300% more likely to be murdered by hands, fists and feet and 700% more likely to be killed by a knife than an AR15 and its cousins. There, of course, was a 30 day stay on implementing the decision to give the anti-gun side a chance to appeal.
I know it sounds early but the first hunting season this year is only a little over seven weeks away and dove season will be here before you know it. I am already seeing ads for hunting gear and some stores are already stocking shotgun shells for the Upland Game and Deer Season. I would not hesitate if you see something you need. It is better to have your shotgun shells on the shelf than wish you had gotten them when they were available.
Tick season is here right now. Illinois is blessed to have four different kinds of ticks, all carrying different nasty diseases. Illinois has the Deer Tick, the Lone Star Tick, the Dog Tick and the Gulf Coast Tick. Most of the time these ticks feed on our furry friends but if given a chance, they don’t mind taking a bite out of you. Using a bug repellent with plenty of DEET in it is a good defense. Spray your shoes, boots, socks and pant legs. I also spray my shirts as well as exposed skin. When you get out of the field or timber, take a shower. I have had two of those little ticks dig into me and I found them while taking a shower. Putting your clothes in a hot drier for 20 minutes will kill the ones you missed. Don’t forget your pets. Ticks, particularly the dog tick, can really harm man’s best friend. Ticks will piggyback a ride into your house. Be sure you have tick protection on your pets and check them frequently.
The Illinois General Assembly is back in session. The General Assembly left on May 31st subject to the call of the Chair in both the Illinois Senate and Illinois House of Representatives. That means they will be back in regular session so anything can happen. Don’t be surprised if you get an alert. Please respond and support our Action Alerts!
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