The number of people licensed to own guns in Illinois jumped by more than 78,500 last year, possibly fueled by a belief the state was poised to legalize the concealed carry of weapons, reports the Northwest Indiana Times. The Illinois State Police says nearly 1.4 million people had Firearm Owner Identification Cards as of Jan. 1, compared with just over 1.3 million the year before. Police got 321,437 applications in 2011, up from 287,552 in 2010.
The 6.1 percent increase in FOID cards comes as Illinois continues to be a focal point among gun rights advocates as the lone state in the nation that does not allow people to carry concealed weapons in public. The FOID card does not allow people to carry guns in public. Rather, in order to possess or purchase firearms or ammunition, residents of the state of Illinois are required to have the card.