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Illinois Swamped By Surge In Firearm Owner Applications

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Illinois State Police say they're trying to deal with a huge backlog of applications for Firearms Owner Identification cards.

The agency received more than 28,000 applications for cards during April alone.

That's on top of an existing backlog of nearly 76,000 applications. The state police say they are dealing with a record number of applications.

State police are supposed to approve or deny applications within 30 days.

The agency says its understaffed due to budget cuts and is having trouble meeting the deadline.

Every month since December has seen a record number of Illinois residents applying for FOID cards. Officials say 31,249 applications were received in December. In January, 61,172 people applied for a card, and there were 56,078 applications in February. About 70,000 applications were filed in March.

Officials say the state police received 338,610 FOID applications last year.

A FOID card is required to legally own a gun in Illinois. The application to obtain a card costs $10 and is non-refundable. And the State Police only gets $3 of that fee to process the applications. Police spokesman Monique Bond said $6 goes to the Department of Natural Resources, while $1 goes to help fund a gun-tracking program.

The National Rifle Association in Illinois has complained about the backlog.

Lobbyist Todd Vandermyde has said the problem also affects current gun owners trying to renew their existing cards. The cards are valid for 10 years. The state sends gun owners a notice 60 days before the expiration date.

Some gun owners have waited more than three months to get their card, the State Journal Register reported.

The FOID card was created in 1968, by the FOID Act, as a way to identify those persons eligible to possess and acquire firearms and firearm ammunition in Illinois.

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