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Tuesday, March 1, 2022

FOID Card Holders Can Obtain Own FOID Card Application and Records

In 2019, two individuals submitted FOIA requests to the Illinois State Police (ISP) seeking copies of their own applications for a firearm owners’ identification (FOID) card and ISP’s FOID card denial letters. ISP denied both FOIA requests, on the basis that the applications and denial letters are expressly exempt from disclosure under FOIA exemption 7.5(v), which exempts the following: 

Names and information of people who have applied for or received Firearm Owner’s Identification Cards under the Firearm Owners Identification Card Act or applied for or received a concealed carry license under the Firearm Concealed Carry Act, unless otherwise authorized by the Firearm Concealed Carry Act; and databases under the Firearm Concealed Carry Act, records of the Concealed Carry Licensing Review Board under the Firearm Concealed Carry Act, and law enforcement agency objections under the Firearm Concealed Carry Act.” 5 ILCS 140/7.5(v).             

Both requestors sued ISP arguing that the records were improperly withheld under FOIA, and both the circuit court and appellate agreed, finding that ISP failed to prove that exemption 7.5(v) authorizes withholding the personal applications or FOID card denial letters of the applicants that are the subject of the records. Hart v. Illinois State Police. Because both requesters consented in writing to the release of their personal information by submitting FOIA requests seeking their own FOID card applications and denial letters, the court held that ISP was not prohibited from disclosing the requesters' own personal information to the requesters. Otherwise, the court reasoned that it makes no sense for a public body to withhold a person’s name and other personal information when that person already knows their own personal information and consents in writing for the public body to release that information.

Post Authored by Eugene Bolotnikov, Ancel Glink


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