SPRINGFIELD -- The Illlinois State Rifle Association is asking Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan to reconsider a ruling handed down Tuesday that directs the Illinois State Police to release the names and other personal information belonging to the state's 1.3 Million firearm owners. The ruling comes in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOI) request filed by news organizations who wish to list the names of firearm owners in newspapers and other publications.
Information subject to the FOI request is maintained in the Firearm Owners Identification card (FOID) database which tracks personal information belonging to persons who hold FOID cards. Since its inception in the mid-1960s, information in the FOID database has been considered confidential and not subject to release by the State Police. Today's ruling by Attorney General Madigan is a dramatic departure from that tradition.
The ISRA strongly opposes release of the FOID database information because the association believes that release of such data puts FOID card holders and their families in grave danger.
"Attorney General Madigan has to understand that the safety of real people is at stake here," commented ISRA Executive Director Richard Pearson. "Once this information is released, it will be distributed to street gangs and gun control groups who will use the data to target gun owners for crime and harassment."
"There is no legitimate reason for anyone to have access to the information in the FOID database," continued Pearson. "Make no mistake, the ISRA would love to have the FOID database for our recruitment and fundraising drives. However, we understand how important it is to maintain the privacy of citizens who choose to exercise their right to keep and bear arms. So again, I'm asking that Attorney General Madigan consider the families that will be endangered by the release of the FOID database and then honor tradition by keeping the information private."
The ISRA is the state's leading advocate of safe, lawful and responsible firearms ownership. For more than a century, the ISRA has represented the interests of millions of law-abiding Illinois firearm owners.