All sides agree: review of order blocking release of FOID card names delayed

March 16, 2011 at 10:12 PM

PEORIA — A Peoria County judge will hear arguments next month about a temporary restraining order blocking the release of the names of 1.3 million Illinoisans who hold state firearm owner’s identification cards.

At a brief hearing Tuesday, the Illinois State Rifle Association, the Illinois State Police and The Associated Press agreed to a delay of the review of the restraining order until April 14.

Until then the temporary restraining order, imposed last week, will remain in place.

Chief Peoria County Circuit Judge Michael Brandt presided at the hearing.

The suit pending in Peoria County court was brought last week by four Peoria-area members of the state rifle association. They contend releasing the names would cause “irreparable damage.” They also contend that identities of gun permit holders are “in need of protection, namely the preservation of the status quo, until this litigation can be resolved,” according to the complaint.

The four men involved in the suit are James P. Hanley and Norman W. Parsley, both of Peoria County, Kevin L. Monk of Lowpoint and Eric D. Henson of East Peoria.

The review allows the state time to hire a private attorney to represent the state police.

Normally the Illinois Attorney General’s Office would handle the case, but in this case that could be a conflict of interest. Attorney General Lisa Madigan has said the names are public information and should be released by the state police.

But state police, maintaining that such disclosure is an unwarranted invasion of privacy, are preparing a possible court challenge.

Another issue could be whether the case is heard in Peoria at all, given that a Freedom of Information request sparked the potential release of names. Such a challenge is often heard at the seat of state government which could be in either Chicago or Springfield, said Don Craven, the attorney for The Associated Press.

State rifle association attorney Stanley Tucker of Carthage said he would oppose a move, noting that two of the group’s members are from Peoria County.

“Why should a citizen go to Springfield to sue the state? Why can’t they stay at home? That is where the transaction occurred,” he said.

Andy Kravetz can be reached at 686-3283 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).