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Cook County sheriff: More resources needed to get guns from those with revoked FOID cards

Over 27,000 guns held by revoked FOID holders are unaccounted for in Cook County
Over 27,000 guns held by revoked FOID holders are unaccounted for in Cook County 02:29

CHICAGO (CBS) -- When licenses to own a gun are revoked, the license holders are supposed to turn over their licenses and weapons.

So why are more than 27,000 people in Cook County still holding on to their weapons when they shouldn't?

CBS 2 first dug into the growing problem last year. Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said the current solution is not working – and thus, he is calling on Illinois state legislators to fund regional teams that can go to the homes of non-compliant residents and retrieve the guns and Firearms Owner Identification (or FOID) cards that haven't been accounted for.

The Cook County Sheriff's gun team has recovered only about 300 illegal guns since the beginning of the year, while Dart said there are tens of thousands more guns out there held by people with revoked FOID cards.

"I know who has them, and I know the address the guns are at," Dart said.

FOID cards are most commonly revoked due to felony convictions, mental health concerns, or orders of protection.

A map provided by the Sheriff's office showed people with revoked FOID cards and guns that have not been turned over to police – or a third-party that is legally able to hold the guns – are living all around Cook County.

Cook County Sheriff's Office

They are represented in every part of Chicago and the suburbs, from north to south and east to west. In all, 27,043 people were noncompliant as of the end of 2023.

Statewide, that number is about 84,000.

"And this number will exponentially keep increasing," Dart said. "It adds about 150 new people a month."

Illinois State Police facilitate approximately $2 million worth of revocation enforcement grants for departments across the state.

Dart's team estimates it would take $8 million to $10 million to fund the regional teams his office believes would be most effective.

"It isn't really about us," Dart said. "These other entities need it."

Illinois State Police declined CBS 2's request for an interview on this subject, but in a statement said the Cook County Sheriff's Department failed to spend its whole award for 2023.

"We would be happy to work together to identify additional funding if the County was able to demonstrate that they needed additional funding," the statement said in part.

Dart said the sheer number of guns that are unaccounted for demonstrate that need.

He said the sheriff's office received its grant funds three months late, which made it more difficult to spend. But it will be spent by the end of June.

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