(The Center Square) – The intersection of Illinois’ Firearm Owner’s Identification card and the Freedom of Information Act was the focus of an Illinois Supreme Court case heard this week.
The case stems from two people requesting public records regarding why their FOID cards, a state-issued identification required in Illinois to own or buy firearms and ammunition, were either revoked or suspended. The plaintiffs’ FOIA requests to Illinois State Police were denied. After challenges, the case made it to the Illinois Supreme Court on Tuesday.
Illinois State Police attorney Valerie Quinn said that they can’t release such personal information through FOIA and the proper way to request such information is through the Firearms Services Bureau.
“No one is trying to keep people’s personal applications and denial letters a secret from them but the Firearms Services Bureau needs to be able to verify that you are who you say you are before releasing copies of your confidential information,” Quinn said.
Quinn said one reason FOID card information is protected is because of previous cases where news media attempted FOIA requests to get all FOID card data was blocked.
“FOIA is for monitoring what the government is up to, not for keeping tabs on what private citizens are up to,” Quinn said.
Representing the plaintiffs, attorney Thomas Maag said going through the FSB isn’t conducive.
“They don’t answer the telephone for hours at a time. They don’t answer emails for days and or weeks at a time,” Maag said. “I invite this court to go to their website and dial the telephone number and see how many hours it takes to get a person, if you even can.”
They’re not a third party seeking their own address or other personal information, Maag said.
“They do want to be told what the stated reason they’re not being allowed to have a FOID card and thus exercise their Second Amendment rights is so that they can determine whether or not they can challenge that or not,” Maag said.
The justices took the case under advisement.