Changes coming to FOID card application

MACON--Starting Monday, you will not be able to apply for a Firearm Owner ID, or FOID card, with a pen and paper.

“It was inconvenient,” said Dan Cooley, president of The Bullet Shop, a licensed firearms dealer in Macon. “And I think that this will increase the convenience of that system.”

Illinois state police are shooting down mail-in applications altogether and are placing the FOID paperwork entirely online. The switch aims to modernize what some consider to be an outdated and sometimes unreliable system. 

“I just had a young lady in here last week, and she was mailing hers for the third time and no idea why it wasn't getting there,” said Cooley. “Unfortunately there is no safeguard in place for them to know that.”

It's a change officials say will streamline the application process for a FOID card, and bring it up to date with the process to acquire a concealed-carry permit, which is already online. But applicants for either license will no longer have to have a digital identification through the Department of Central Management Services. Instead, they will have to register through the ISP website, in an attempt to alleviate some issues applicants have had in the past.

“The digital signature is the big part that people were having problems with,” said Cooley. “Macs wouldn't do it. There were several different operating systems that just weren't compatible with it. “

With all that identifying information in one, online place, federal firearm licensed dealers will have access to it so they can perform background checks instantaneously. Instead of having to call in to confirm whether a person has the proper paperwork before selling them a gun. 

“I hope it will speed the process up considerably,” said Cooley. “And that's what people are after.”

Illinois State Police will begin accepting online applications on March 16th.

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