What do you think the reaction would be if we were all told that in order to post our thoughts on social media, or even speak out loud outside our own homes, we needed to pay the state to do so?

I tend to think the response would be utter outrage. We'd be hearing things like Why, speaking our mind and writing our thoughts down for others to read is covered under the First Amendment! It's an inalienable right, guaranteed in the Constitution! How dare you expect people to pay money to exercise their constitutional rights!?

Yet when the State of Illinois (along with 3 other states, Hawaii, Massachusetts, and New Jersey) demands that you pay to get a Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) Card, that's okay? Keep in mind the FOID card is not permission to carry a concealed weapon (that's an entirely different license), it's what an Illinois resident must have to even own a gun. No FOID card? You can't buy a weapon or ammunition, and you can't have a firearm at all without one. The Second Amendment covers the right to own a firearm pretty clearly, and a FOID card was not part of the framer's thinking.

Maybe, just maybe, if Illinois State Representative Andrew Chesney (R-Freeport) gets his way, the Illinois FOID card might finally be tossed into the dustbin of history. Mr. Chesney has filed House Bill 1770 (HB1770), which, if signed into law, would repeal the FOID Card Act.

I called Representative Chesney this morning to ask him about HB1770, and he was kind enough to take a few minutes with me.

Me: Mr. Chesney, Illinois is one of only four states that require a "FOID-type" card. How are Illinois and the other three states getting away with charging citizens to exercise their constitutional rights?

Rep. Andrew Chesney: This makes little sense and is currently being challenged in many State courts. My hope is that it works its way up to the US Supreme Court where I am confident the justices will correctly rule on this matter and restore our 2nd Amendment rights. I am not sure how any State can legally tax and charge a fee to law-abiding Citizens for a right afforded to them under the US Constitution. 

Me: What kind of support are you seeing in your efforts to rid Illinois of the FOID card?

Rep. Andrew Chesney: We have tremendous support! I have 10 co-sponsors and that list will only continue to grow. I am receiving calls daily from members of the General Assembly to discuss the bill. 

Me: To give an indication of how important this is to people, is it really true that you hear more about FOID delays than any other problem with the Illinois state government?

Rep. Andrew Chesney: Yes, absolutely, the #1 call our office receives is FOID related-- there is not even a close second. We are trying to help and assist the Governor but he has failed the gun owners in Illinois. The FOID law is outdated, ineffective and most importantly unconstitutional. It is time to scrap it and restore this constitutional right for anyone that calls Illinois home.

Representative Andrew Chesney will join the WROK Morning Show on Thursday morning after the 8am news to discuss this and other issues important to Illinois.

 

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