Illinois’ top court is being asked to decide whether the Firearm Owner’s Identification cards, popularly called FOID cards, are a necessary safeguard or a violation of the U.S. Constitution, reports the Chicago Sun Times. Last week, a downstate judge ruled the FOID card system was unconstitutional, reducing residents’ Second Amendment rights to bear arms to a “façade.” Gun control advocates denounced the ruling as “frightening and radical,” and Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul quickly appealed the decision to the Illinois Supreme Court, setting up a battle over whether the state can require its citizens to hold such an ID card in order to own a firearm.
First enacted in 1968, the state’s Firearm Owner Identification Act requires Illinoisans to apply for the card with the Illinois State Police in order to legally own a firearm. But in his ruling Tuesday, White County Judge T. Scott Webb wrote the FOID card “makes criminals out of law abiding citizens who are attempting to protect their lives within their homes.” Webb’s order also dismisses charges against Vivian Brown, whose 2017 arrest had initiated the lawsuit. Brown was charged with owning a rifle without a FOID card even though she was a “law-abiding citizen” and “otherwise eligible to receive a FOID card,” according to her lawyer David Sigale. Webb’s ruling is a “frightening and radical decision contrary to a whole body of research about the effectiveness of FOID-type laws,” said Jonathan Baum, a lawyer for the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.