SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (IRN) — The Illinois attorney general says state police must release the name of everyone in the state who is authorized to own a gun.
If you own a gun legally in Illinois you must get a Firearm Owners Identification card. Police have always kept the list private. But the attorney general’s public access counselor released an opinion saying the information should be public.
Spokeswoman Natalie Bauer says the findings come after a Freedom of Information Act request for the names of FOID cardholders. State police said giving out that information would violate the privacy of gun owners. The attorney general’s office ruled that argument invalid. State police have not said whether they will comply with the ruling.
Richard Pearson, executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Association, says it would be a mistake to release the names. “The gun owners always have a chance of being harassed by the press…and of course become targets for criminals, become targets for anti-gun zealots who want to make examples of them or harass them, so we think it should remain private and confidential,” Pearson said.
Bauer counters that only the names and expiration dates of FOID cardholders are required to be released, and not information such as home addresses, but Pearson says that the state is breaking its promise with law-abiding gun owners.
“When the FOID law was passed it was said that this would be private, kept confidential, and so everybody signed up for a FOID card thinking it would be confidential. Well, another case of the government changing their mind and jeopardizing the rights of its citizens,” Pearson said.
There are Republican-sponsored bills in the Illinois House and Senate that would prohibit disclosure of the information.
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