Background checks for guns are the norm in Illinois

When it comes to background checks — the centerpiece of President Barack Obama's executive actions to keep people who should not have guns from legally purchasing them — Illinois already is far ahead of the rest of the country.

But those on both sides of the gun debate agree that the president's new policies will have little, if any, direct impact on the flow of illegal guns that are used to commit crimes in Chicago.

"We don't think this will solve the gun violence problem, but it's a step in the right direction," said Colleen Daley, executive director of the Illinois Coalition Against Handgun Violence. "The president doesn't make laws, but what he is doing is enforcing existing laws. It's providing guidance."

As the last state to allow residents to carry concealed firearms in public, Illinois lawmakers put together a law in 2013 that incorporates universal background checks as well as tough licensing guidelines for anyone who purchases or sells a firearm in the state.

Since 1968, Illinois has been the only state to require that all gun holders obtain a state-issued Firearm Owner's Identification Card, or FOID card, to purchase guns or ammunition. While it is not foolproof, the FOID card makes it much more difficult for criminals and mentally ill people to obtain firearms through legal means. Read more of the Chicago Tribune article here.