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Peoria senator Dave Koehler touts FOID Modernization Act to ease renewal, increase background checks

Sen. Dave Koehler, D-Peoria
Maggie Strahan
Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) spoke with Maggie Strahan via Zoom about Public Act 102-0237.

State Sen. Dave Koehler, D-Peoria, is touting a new law he sponsored that he says will make it easier for lawful gun owners to get licensed and stay licensed.

Koehler sponsored the bipartisan FOID Modernization Act, which went into effect on Jan. 1, 2022. The act updates the process of applying for and renewing a Firearm Owner Identification card and allows gun owners to combine FOID and Concealed Carry License (CCL) cards.

FOID cards will no longer carry an expiration date and will be renewed automatically. This is aimed at reducing the backlog of applications and minimizing the time it takes for an applicant or licensee to receive their updated card.

The law also expands background checks and gun sales reporting, including the introduction of a reporting process for private citizens who sell their personal firearms to family members or community members without going through a licensed firearms dealer.

Gun violence continues to be a public safety concern in Illinois, and Koehler said easing the renewal process is a trade-off for tightening background checks.

“Ninety-nine percent of the gun owners (in Illinois) are not the problem. They are not the reason we have violence or escalating, you know, murders in our cities. Let’s not make them jump through all kinds of hoops and become frustrated because they can’t get their application processed,” said Koehler in an interview with WCBU on Wednesday.

While making it easier for gun owners to renew their license, the bill also introduces trauma-centered mental health programs in communities affected by gun violence. Koehler said he hopes these programs will provide both comfort after gun violence strikes a community as well as programs working towards prevention of future violence.

The implementation of these new requirements and community programs began just under two weeks ago, and Koehler predicts that “by the middle of this year, we will have made a lot of progress in terms of doing the right thing.”

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Maggie Strahan is a graduate student in the Public Affairs Reporting program at the University of Illinois.