A 2-year-old law requires people with orders of protection against them to surrender their Firearm Owner's Identification Cards and guns, but some lawyers say clients are having a hard time getting permits reinstated when the court action ends.
Illinois State Police have discretion in reissuing FOID cards once an order of protection ends. While several lawyers say the agency has been slow to respond, spokeswoman Monique Bond said that's not the case.
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The law, in effect since January 2012, is meant to protect possible victims of domestic violence. It says that after a person's FOID card is surrendered to state police, his or her guns are supposed to be taken to a local police station for storage until the protection order expires. The weapons can't be returned until a FOID card is reissued by the state police. It is the one instance when a gun permit can be revoked without a criminal conviction.
Bond said it is up to the individual to notify the Illinois State Police Firearms Services Bureau and provide court records if an order of protection has expired or been lifted by a judge.
"If the order has been cleared ... the Firearms Services Bureau will reinstate the FOID card," Bond said. "I cannot place an exact amount to time on this process. However, generally speaking, it is rather quick, approximately one week."
State police records show there were 4,811 FOID revocations and 6,452 applications denied in 2012. The records don't specify FOID card revocations linked to orders of protection.
Attorney Lewis Gainor, who handles criminal and divorce cases in Cook and DuPage counties, disputes the state police claim of reinstating FOID cards in about a week. He said he has clients who have been waiting much longer to regain their permits.
"The Illinois State Police are notorious for slowly responding to the requests, if at all," Gainor said.
Lawyers say an order of protection, granted if a judge finds evidence someone is harassing or violent toward another person, commonly lasts a year and sometimes up to two years.
Anyone convicted of domestic battery is ineligible to obtain or keep an FOID card, according to the law.
Chicago attorney Bernard Rinella said his firm has handled some cases in which clients have encountered long waits for new FOID cards after the orders of protection against them ended.
"By the statute, (the gun owner) should get them back," Rinella said.
Attorney Thomas Glasgow said one client had difficulty reclaiming inherited antique guns that were surrendered, along with his FOID card, after an order of protection was placed against him during a divorce proceeding.
Glasgow, an Arlington Heights trustee whose law firm is in Schaumburg, said the former wife's divorce case claim about the man's mental incompetence added to his difficulty in attempting to get the FOID card reinstated and the guns returned.
Glasgow said he never heard whether the client was allowed to reclaim the antique firearms.