Bill Would Require Gun-Owners To Carry $1M Insurance Policy
Springfield, IL – Illinois lawmakers are considering a bill that would require gun owners to purchase at least $1 million worth of liability insurance coverage.
House Bill 5170, filed by Rep. Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz (D-Glenview) on Friday, would prohibit “surplus line insurance producers from procuring and domestic surplus line insurers from insuring the risk of legal fees, costs, or expenses related to an investigation, indictment, or prosecution of any criminal charge arising out of the use of a firearm.”
It would also amend the Firearm Owners Identification Card (FOID) Act by requiring new or renewing applicants to provide the Illinois State Police (ISP) with proof that they have “liability coverage of at least $1,000,000 for accidental injuries caused by a firearm,” according to the bill.
Although FOID cards only need to be renewed every 10 years, the ISP “may require annual proof” of insurance coverage, the bill reads.
Citizens who fail to provide proof of insurance coverage or who fail to maintain such coverage would likely have their FOID cards suspended – thereby making it illegal for them to possess firearms, according to the National Rifle Association (NRA).
The bill was referred to the House Rules Committee on Tuesday.
Kailey Pritchard, who owns Raging Bullet Guns and More in Auburn, said that the proposed legislation was “ridiculous,” The Center Square reported.
Pritchard noted that the state is already struggling to implement the measures they previously enacted, and that more restrictions will prolong the process even further.
“They can’t even get FOID cards out the door. People are waiting six months for FOID cards,” she told The Center Square. “How are they going to check on any of this stuff? They took my money and I never heard back.”
A federal lawsuit was filed against the ISP on Jan. 31, alleging that the agency’s leadership has allowed firearms license applications to languish for months, effectively depriving citizens of their Second Amendment rights, while simultaneously defunding the FOID program.
The lawsuit, filed by the Illinois State Rifle Association (ISRA) and the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), alleged that thousands of Illinois citizens who need to renew an expired FOID card or who have applied for one have been in limbo for months.
The fault lies in the administration of the program that issues the cards, according to Courthouse News.
The lawsuit, which specifically named ISP Director Brendan Kelly and Jessica Trame, the bureau chief of the Illinois State Police Firearms Services Bureau, blamed the delays on the loss of $29.5 million in state police funds that were supposed to have been used to administer the program and conduct background checks.
The suit claimed ISP “has swept or transferred funds totaling more than $29,500,000.00 from the State Police Firearms Services Fund, the State Police Operations Assistance Fund, and the State Police Services Fund away from these funds and into other accounts.”
“The money was to be used for three purposes: administration of the Firearm Owners Identification Card (“FOID Card Act”), background checks for firearm-related services, and concealed carry licensing pursuant to the Firearms Concealed Carry Act (“FCCA”),” the complaint read. “Instead, the more than $29,500,000.00 has been subject to interfund transfers which are ostensibly to be repaid but which have not been, or swept into other accounts without an obligation to reimburse the funds at all.”
The Second Amendment organizations that filed the lawsuit in federal court in the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division did so on behalf of two Illinois residents whom they said have been denied their constitutional rights.
“The effect of this has been a systematic slowdown and sometimes halt of processing of applications and appeals of the FOID Card Act,” the lawsuit said. “Applicants and appellants spend days on the phone attempting to reach someone at the [Illinois State Police] with no success. In the unlikely event that a person answers, the applicant/appellant is usually told only that their case is under review.”
While renewals and first-time applicants might have to wait for months to get a FOID, anything more complicated – such as a reinstatement after a prior revocation or an appeal – can take literally years, according to the lawsuit.
The suit said applicants “quickly find their appeals sucked into a black hole from which escape comes, if at all, with an interminable wait.”
The state has no legal deadline to respond to an appeal, Courthouse News reported.
The lawsuit asked the court to order the ISP to issue cards to the citizens named in the complaint, and to award them monetary damages.