COOK COUNTY, IL – With Chicago reeling from a sharp increase in shootings and gun-related homicides this year, Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart is calling on the Illinois General Assembly to pass legislation designed to prevent ammunition from getting into the hands of illegal gun owners.
“As we suffer through yet another summer of tragic gun violence in Chicago, there are virtually no checks in place to prevent illegal gun owners from purchasing the one thing that makes firearms deadly: Ammunition,” Sheriff Dart said. “This common-sense legislation will require sellers of ammunition to prove that individuals purchasing ammunition are legally authorized to do so.”
Gun sales are subject to a host of restrictions – including criminal background checks, a 72-hour waiting period, dealers licensure, and child access prevention – as well as a check of the Illinois State Police website to verify that the purchaser possesses a valid Firearm Owner Identification (FOID) card.
However, all that is currently required of individuals wishing to purchase ammunition is that they show the seller their FOID card.
Sheriff Dart’s proposal would mandate that sellers of ammunition must first verify purchasers’ FOID cards are valid. This can be accomplished with little change to the current Illinois State Police online database used to verify FOID cards prior to the purchase of a firearm. Once the card is determined to be valid, the seller would be able to complete the transaction.
“Law abiding gun owners will be unaffected by this new protection, but this simple change will make it much more difficult for those unauthorized to possess a firearm to obtain ammunition,” Dart said.
The measure is the latest effort by Dart to combat illegal gun ownership, and the violence that plagues our communities.
In 2013, he formed a specialized unit of Sheriff’s Police tasked with recovering firearms from individuals whose FOID cards were revoked or expired. Since then, the team has recovered more than 1,600 firearms and nearly 2,000 revoked FOID cards from the hands of those no longer legally able to possess a gun.
He has championed the Fix the FOID Act (Senate Bill 1966), which would require fingerprinting for FOID card applicants, require background checks at the point-of- sale for all gun purchases, and require law enforcement agencies to ensure firearms are removed from individuals whose FOID cards have been revoked. It is awaiting action by the Illinois Senate.