Franks proposes gun bill that would end FOID card restriction for young adults

Published: Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013 11:45 p.m. CDT • Updated: Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013 12:03 a.m. CDT

Adults between 18 and 21 would no longer need parents’ written permission to possess firearms and ammunition under a local lawmaker’s proposal.

House Bill 3762, filed Friday by state Rep. Jack Franks, D-Marengo, lowers to 18 the age that parental permission is required as a condition for obtaining a Firearm Owner’s Identification Card. Under current law, residents under age 21 must produce a notarized affidavit from a parent or guardian, who cannot themselves be ineligible to have the FOID card required by law to possess firearms and ammunition.

Franks said he was surprised when he learned from upset constituents that college-aged adults had the extra requirement. He called the extra burden unnecessary and an impediment to law-abiding citizens exercising their Second Amendment rights that does nothing to keep criminals from obtaining guns.

“If you’re 18 and able to join the military and defend our country, I don’t think it makes sense that you have to get your parents’ permission to get a FOID card in Illinois,” Franks said.

The bill does not eliminate the parental permission requirement for people younger than 18 to obtain a FOID card. Children under state law can handle firearms without a FOID card in the presence of a parent, guardian or someone acting in a supervisory capacity who has a valid card.

Franks’ bill is likely to face opposition from Chicago lawmakers, who advocate strict gun control, as well as from gun control groups. The state’s oldest, the Illinois Council to Prevent Handgun Violence, is reviewing Franks’ bill, Executive Director Colleen Daley said Friday.

Franks said he anticipates getting pushback, but added that his bill is “an issue of fundamental fairness, and I think we have to treat people fairly.”

The bill could be taken up as soon as January, when the General Assembly returns for spring session. January is also when the Illinois State Police will start processing licenses for residents to carry concealed weapons, after lawmakers earlier this year under court order struck down Illinois’ total ban on carrying handguns in public.

The state police are expected to start issuing licenses by April to residents who pay a fee and complete a 16-hour training course, the longest of any state. Illinois was the last state in the union to approve a concealed-carry law.

At least 300,000 people are expected in the first year to apply for permits, according to the state police, who are also dealing with an ongoing backlog created by a record number of FOID applications.

Franks’ bill will join others filed every session by lawmakers on both sides of the gun control debate. Chicago lawmakers have a counterweight in downstate lawmakers of both parties who support gun rights, meaning that legislation that leans too far to either side usually does not have the votes to pass.

On the Net

You can read the text of House Bill 3762, which will eliminate parental consent for adults aged 18 to 21 to own firearms and ammunition in Illinois, at www.ilga.gov.

You can learn more about the state’s new concealed carry law and find lists of certified instructors in your area, at www.isp.state.il.us/firearms/ccw.

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