Willis vows to improve bill that would have increased fees, required fingerprinting
By LINDSEY SALVATELLI
Capitol News Illinois
SPRINGFIELD — Rep. Kathleen Willis said her bill to increase Firearm Owner’s Identification card fees and mandate fingerprinting will not be brought to a vote by the Senate before the end of session.
Willis, a Democrat from Addison, said she remains committed to working on the bill over the summer with hopes of reviving it during the fall veto session, a brief two-week period in November when lawmakers return to the Capitol.
“I always find bills can find ways to be better,” Willis said.
She said she was “extremely disappointed the Senate chose not to call” the bill.
The push to overhaul and modernize the Firearm Owner’s Identification Act was a response to the Feb. 15 shooting at the Henry Pratt Company in Aurora. The shooter, who left five dead and wounded five officers, had his FOID card revoked and was illegally in possession of firearms.
Under Willis’ proposal, both new applications for FOID cards and five-year card renewals would cost $20, up from the current cost of $10. The fees would have gone toward law enforcement revocation efforts.
“The bottom line is we need to fix the revocation system, and there’s no doubt about that,” Willis said.
The increased fees and a mandate that FOID applicants be fingerprinted drew opposition from those who questioned the bill’s constitutionality and believed the increased fees would cost too much.
“I still contend fingerprints at the front end will cut down on the wrong people getting a FOID card,” Willis said.
Republicans who opposed Senate Bill 1966 pointed to a bill filed by Rep. Keith Wheeler, a Republican from Oswego, that appropriated funds to revocation efforts without requiring a fingerprint mandate. But that bill did not achieve any legislative success.
Lawmakers on both sides agreed that the revocation system needs improvements, but disagreed on what changes should be made.
Willis said she and Wheeler will work over the summer to address FOID revocations.
“I might be slowed down, but I’m not down,” Willis said.