When we moved the former Petersen Publishing Co. staff to Peoria, Ill., from Los Angeles a few years back, there was much grumbling about the need to get a Firearms Owner's Identification (FOID) Card. I found that funny coming from guys who had been dealing with a two-week waiting period to buy any gun, an assault weapon ban and the certainty that other repressive measures were around the corner in California.
While I'd prefer not to need a FOID card, I had to remind the newcomers that the system, unique in the country, was the successful means of derailing a full registration regime for all firearms in 1968. In normal times, getting a FOID is no big deal and takes just a couple weeks.
These, of course, are not normal times, and the wait for a FOID card has grown to several weeks. The good side of that is the huge demand for the cards demonstrates the absurdity of the antis' claim that the same six guys are buying all the guns. FOID holders have increased by almost a third — from 1.2 milllion to 1.6 million — in the last few years. The state's population was estimated at 12.88 million in 2012.
The recent passage of concealed carry legislation has only lengthened the line, which stands at almost 50,000. State police expect more than 400,000 applications for concealed carry permits, which will clog the pipeline even more.
Gun banners can niggle about the percentage of the population that holds a FOID card — many casual gun owners do not — but they can't pretend that gun ownership is shrinking. It's growing — an important fact for politicians to remember.