A new regulation proposed by the Illinois State Police (ISP) would have a dramatically negative impact on the future of recreational shooting and law-abiding gun owners.
In an apparent response to an editorial by Daily Southtown columnist Howard Ludwig, the ISP has proposed enacting an age limit for an Illinois Firearm Owner Identification (FOID) card. Ludwig, most likely deliberately, created controversy where none existed when he wrote an article about obtaining a FOID card for his ten-month-old son. He got the attention he was probably looking for, especially from anti-gun zealots who don't believe anyone should have a firearm, and the ISP decided to act.
Currently, Illinois law does not set an age requirement for issuance of a FOID card with a parent's consent, but ISP has proposed only issuing cards to those who have reached 10 years of age. Of course, there is no justification for establishing this limit, as obtaining a FOID card for a child will not negate the fact that he still cannot legally purchase a rifle or shotgun until he is 18, or a handgun until he is 21. But obtaining a FOID card for a child will allow him to take part in firearm safety courses that include the handling of firearms. With firearm-related accidental fatalities at an all-time low, including among children, depriving access to safety training for children is reckless public policy.
Setting an age limit at 10 means children under 10 will not be able to take part in safety courses unless their parents are present. Many households have both parents employed, and there are also many single-parent households. If scheduling conflicts mean a parent is not able to attend a class, the child under 10 cannot attend the class, which means important safety lessons will not be learned. Furthermore, this proposed rule would delay when many children will be able to get involved in hunting, and require many parents who own firearms for personal protection to store their firearms in a manner that will leave them inaccessible should a violent criminal break into the home.
Potentially endangering children by depriving them of access to safety lessons is simply irresponsible, delaying when children can become hunters will do damage to our hunting heritage, and requiring gun owners to store firearms so that they are inaccessible will mean criminals will have a distinct advantage when they break into homes.
This proposal must be defeated! The Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) will determine if this rule will be enacted, but you can submit comments of opposition to the proposal. Please address your comments to:
Mr. John M. Hosteny
Interim Chief Legal Counsel
Illinois State Police
801 South 7th Street
P.O. Box 19461
Springfield, IL 61794-9461
In your comments, be sure to ask Mr. Hosteny to share your objections with the members of JCAR. The deadline for comments is Monday, November 5.