Pritzker signs bill establishing universal background checks for gun sales in 2024

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Information provided by the Governor’s Office

AURORA, Ill. (August 2, 2021) – Governor JB Pritzker signed House Bill 562 this week, expanding background checks on all gun sales in Illinois and providing mental health funding for communities most impacted by gun violence.

The legislation is the latest effort by the Pritzker administration and General Assembly to address gun violence as a public health crisis, building on the $128 million investment in violence prevention programs included in this year’s state budget.

“The bill I sign today delivers to Illinoisans everywhere the most comprehensive reform to our state firearms laws in over a generation. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have come together to shape a law steeped in a common sense commitment to safety,” said Pritzker. “The state will now require universal background checks on all gun sales in Illinois. We’re also taking action to ensure responsible gun owners aren’t held back by an antiquated licensing system — which hasn’t seen significant updates since its founding more than 50 years ago.”

Passing with bipartisan support, House Bill 562 makes sweeping modernizations to the Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card system. In the last decade, the number of Illinoisans with a FOID Card has nearly doubled without modernization of statutory framework or technology — from 1.2 million in 2010 to 2.2 million today.

Universal background checks and other gun safety goals

The legislation does the following:

  • Expands background checks to all gun sales in Illinois starting in 2024.
  • Invests in community-based, trauma-informed mental health programs in the communities most impacted by gun violence.
  • Properly funds the Illinois State Police’s (ISP) ability to enforce the surrender of firearms from people who have lost their license for gun ownership.
  • Requires ISP to remove guns from people with revoked FOID cards who have not surrendered their weapon.
  • Amends how FOID card fees are distributed: $5 will go to the State Police Firearm Services Fund and $5 will go into the State Police Revocation Enforcement Fund (previously, $6 went to the Wildlife and Fish Fund, $1 to the State Police Services Fund, and $3 to the State Police Firearm Services Fund).
  • Creates a stolen gun database and requires ISP to continuously monitor state and federal databases for prohibited gun buyers.
  • Creates stronger identification factors, like fingerprints, so Illinois State Police can more easily verify the identity of FOID applicants and firearm purchasers, as well as increase the frequency of background checks. Allows responsible gun owners who opt into this process to see their FOID and Concealed Carry applications expedited and automatically renewed going forward.
  • Streamlines the FOID card system by allowing ISP to create electronic records, creating a combined FOID and concealed carry license, offering cardholders the ability to apply for renewal six months before the expiration date, and establishing a professional appeals board.
  • Formalizes in law preventative actions the Illinois State Police has taken under Director Brendan Kelly: giving all Illinois law enforcement agencies access to the FOID status of any individual, ensuring State Police continuously monitor federal and state databases for any new threat to safety, requiring every Illinois law enforcement agency to submit ballistics information to national crime databases within 48 hours, and making available to the public all firearms reported stolen to crack down on illegal gun trafficking.

“Effective violence prevention requires a multi-faceted approach, and partnerships between local law enforcement and state and federal government agencies are critical in order to reduce gun violence and violent crime in communities throughout Illinois,” State Attorney General Kwame Raoul said. “I appreciate Governor Pritzker recognizing this and signing House Bill 562 into law as another important step in our collective goal to prevent violent crime.”

“Two and a half years ago, our Aurora community was ripped apart when a disgruntled employee shot and killed five colleagues at the Henry Pratt Company and wounded five of our officers with a gun he should have never had,” said Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman. “This bill will reduce the chance of someone slipping through the cracks, and I thank our state lawmakers and Governor Pritzker for signing this important legislation into law to protect all of our communities.”

HB 562 takes effect January 1, 2022 — except universal background checks, which take effect January 1, 2024.