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How to Obtain a F.O.I.D. Card
in Illinois if a Convicted Felon

In 2013, when Illinois became the last state to issue concealed carry permits, there was an increase in the number of people interested in applying for a F.O.I.D. card, a prerequisite to qualifying for a concealed carry permit. Some people soon discovered that they didn’t qualify for a F.O.I.D. card because of their past criminal history.

Crimes that Bar Gun Rights

In Illinois, these criminal offenses will bar you from obtaining a F.O.I.D. card:

• Felony convictions (in Illinois or elsewhere)
• Misdemeanor domestic battery (committed on or after 1/1/98)
• Persons under 21 who have been convicted of a misdemeanor as an adult (does not include traffic offenses)
• Misdemeanor convictions within the past five years for assault, aggravated assault, violating an order of protection
• An adult who was adjudicated delinquent (as a minor) for a crime that would be a felony if prosecuted in adult court (e.g., aggravated battery, burglary)
• A minor with a pending petition in juvenile court for a crime that would be a felony if prosecuted in adult criminal court.

Some Illinoisans are surprised to learn that even if their felony conviction occurred 10 or 20 years ago and/or did not involve violence, the Illinois State Police — the agency that processes applications for a F.O.I.D. card — is going to deny your application.

A couple of years ago, I learned that there is only one way a convicted felon can obtain a F.O.I.D. card in Illinois: file a petition for clemency, asking for reinstatement of those rights.

A Case in Point

A client I’ll call “Ed” pled guilty to burglary when he was 20. Many years later, in 2009, Ed received clemency with permission to expunge his conviction. Thereafter, Ed applied for a F.O.I.D. card but, again, was denied. The Illinois State Police told Ed that his now expunged burglary conviction was still blocking his right to the card.

I filed a clemency petition for Ed, specifically requesting reinstatement of his F.O.I.D. card rights. Ed’s petition was granted by Governor Quinn in 2015. Ed is now the proud recipient of a F.O.I.D. card.

Ed was fortunate in that his petition was granted less than two years after filing it. Ordinarily, it can take upwards of three to four years to obtain a clemency decision.

Although Governor Rauner has been stingy about granting petitions for clemency, during his first year in office he did reinstate F.O.I.D. card rights to two individuals, both guilty of non-violent felony offenses (theft by deception, burglary).

Call to Action

If your felony does not involve a crime of violence and is not recent (preferably more than 5 years old), please contact me for a free consultation to see whether you would be a good candidate to apply for clemency.

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