FILE - guns, Illinois

An assortment of firearms are seen for sale at Capitol City Arms Supply in Springfield in 2013.

(The Center Square) – Illinois State Police are set to show some results to the Legislative Audit Commission with lawmakers reviewing comprehensive audits of the agency.

The commission meeting set for Thursday morning has, among other reviews, a compliance audit of ISP for the two most recent fiscal years. There’s also a management audit of ISP’s handling of the Firearm Owner Identification Card and Concealed Carry License programs.

Auditors say of their sample, 87% of FOID cards weren’t processed in time with up to a year delay and 60% of renewals weren’t processed in time with up to 214 days delay.

There wasn’t sufficient documentation provided to show fees deposited in accordance with the law, auditors noted. ISP collected $3.8 million for new applications and nearly $3.3 million for renewals.

Of the applications auditors sampled, 43% of CCL applications weren’t processed within the constraints of the law.

ISP issued a statement earlier this week saying they’ve got the backlog down from nearly 140,000 to around 8,000 after streamlining some processes and hiring additional staff. The agency said its processing applications in 38 days.

ISP Director Brendan Kelly said the agency continues to improve workflow and is headed in the right direction.”

“The Illinois State Police Firearms Services Bureau is committed to a firearms background check system focused on safety, not bureaucracy,” Kelly said in a statement. “We want to make it easy on the good guys and hard on the bad guys.”

Guns Save Life founder John Boch said ISP’s focus on the issue is showing results.

“Up until recently it’s done a fairly poor job of keeping up with the workload over at the FOID section, but they’re doing better, that’s the good news,” Boch told The Center Square. “The bad news is we still got a FOID card.”

While auditors say some people waited up to a year for their card, Boch said some Illinsoians waited well over a year and there’s not much remedy to secure those rights.

“People can’t really go to court on it because the suit will be moot before the court ever has a hearing on it,” Boch said. “So people really have no place to go other than just to wait for the state to finally catch up when it comes to fulfilling their duties under law.”

Several pending lawsuits in federal and state courts have challenged the state's FOID card law.

“And I think sooner than later the FOID card is going to be ruled unconstitutional, but until we get to that point, we’ve got to live with what we’ve got,” Boch said.

Illinois is one of three states that require residents to get a state-issued ID to own a gun.

Among other audit findings in the ISP Compliance Examination for fiscal years 2019 and 2020, were improper controls over equipment. Auditors urged ISP to immediately assess property that “may have contained confidential information.” They said 92% of items listed as lost or missing could possibly have confidential information stored on them.

“ISP management indicated monthly reconciliations of inventory entries to equipment expenditures were not performed due to a lack of resources,” the audit states.

There was also some questionable bookkeeping.

In one finding, “auditors noted $2,335,955 of unknown activity which was not reported on ISP’s FY20 schedules of additions, deletions, and transfers. ISP was unable to identify the unknown activity.”

Another audit finding was weaknesses in cyber security programs and practices.

Though it wasn’t mentioned in the audit, a recent hack of the state’s FOID database exposed several thousand users’ information.

Other audit findings ranged from not having enough bilingual frontline staff, the agency not enforcing provisions of the Smoke Free Illinois Act, not reporting arrest-related deaths in a timely manner and others.

Associate Editor

Greg Bishop reports on Illinois government and other issues for The Center Square. Bishop has years of award-winning broadcast experience and hosts the WMAY Morning Newsfeed out of Springfield.