Current law makes possession of a Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card a requirement for possessing or carrying a firearm. Illinois residents apply to the State Police to present identification information before being issued a FOID card, which must be presented whenever a resident seeks to buy or take possession of a firearm in Illinois.
The presumption, under Illinois law, is that most persons who apply for an FOID card ought to get one. Exceptions include the authority granted, by current law, to the State Police not to issue an FOID card to any person who is a “clear and present danger” to others. “Clear and present danger” is a legal term that can be expanded or shrunk. The State Police has now promulgated a rulemaking to expand the definition of “clear and present danger” to prevent likely dangerous individuals from receiving a FOID card to purchase firearms. The new language strikes out old language that defined “clear and present danger” as involving an actual, impending, or imminent threat of substantial bodily harm to themselves or another person. Instead, the new standard adopted by the State Police will allow any violent, suicidal, or assaultive threat, even if not immediate or imminent, to stop the issuance of an FOID card.
The new State Police language was adopted by emergency rule, which means that it is already in effect. The emergency rule will remain in effect for no more than 150 days, which will be a period of time required to write the new language in the form of a permanent rule up for public comment. Persons throughout Illinois will have the chance to comment on the new rules language when it comes out. These comments will not, however, affect the current emergency rule. The State Police emergency rule was published on Monday, July 18.