(Springfield, IL) – May 24, 2011. In an effort to keep the names and other information of Illinois Firearm Owner’s Identification card-holders secret, the Illinois Senate yesterday voted against weapons registration transparency, seeking to create special rights for gun owners.
The senate approved the measure, House Bill 3500, 42-01-02, with 14 senators not voting.
The legislation is a result of a Freedom of Information Act request by the Associated Press for the names of all FOID card holders in Illinois.
After the Illinois State Police refused to release the information because of public safety concerns, Attorney General Lisa Madigan submitted a legal opinion that that current state law does not prohibit the public release gun license information.
“The main concern is making sure the names of law-abiding gun owners don’t fall into the hands of criminals and wrongdoers,” said State Senator Gary Forby (D-Forby), co-sponsor of the bill, said. “I worry that if this list was made public, we would be creating a situation that singles out certain groups of citizens and their families for criminals to target.”
Gun-rights proponents have previously argued that the possession of firearms serve as a deterrent to criminals. Now, in an attempt to exempt gun owners state weapons registration transparency, gun-rights advocates are now arguing gun ownership invites criminal activity.
Forby’s bill expands the exemption from the disclosure requirements of the FOIA Act to include the names and information of people who have applied for or received a FOID card.
The Illinois House had earlier approved the legislation 98-12 with 8 lawmakers not voting.
The bill now heads to Governor Pat Quinn’s desk with a warning shot from Forby.
“The overwhelming support it received in the House and Senate should be enough to send the message to the governor to sign the bill,” said Forby.