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Monday, December 4, 2023

Person's Own FOID Card Records Not Releasable Under FOIA

Two individuals submitted separate FOIA requests to the Illinois State Police (ISP) seeking records relating to their own Firearm Owners’ Identification (FOID) cards. ISP denied both requests, citing FOIA exemption 7.5(v), which exempts from disclosure the names and information of people who have applied for or received FOID cards under the Firearm Owner’s Identification Card Act. Both requesters then sued ISP, claiming it denied their FOIA requests in violation of FOIA. The circuit court and the Appellate Court ruled in favor of the requesters, finding the requested records were not exempt from disclosure because the requesters were seeking their own FOID records, and ordered ISP to disclose each requester's FOID card application and ISP’s FOID card revocation letters previously sent to the requesters.

On appeal, the Illinois Supreme Court reversed and ruled in favor of the ISP, finding that FOIA section 7.5(v) is a blanket exemption prohibiting the disclosure of all FOID card information under FOIA, with no exception for requesters who seek their own information. The Supreme Court also rejected the Appellate Court’s argument that an individual may consent to the disclosure of their own FOID card information. Because there is no federal or state law that requires ISP to disclose the requested FOID information, the plaintiffs could not consent to the disclosure of otherwise exempt private FOID card information. Hart v. Illinois State Police.

Post Authored by Eugene Bolotnikov, Ancel Glink


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