Attorney General Lisa Madigan's public access counselor issued a letter Monday night rejecting state police arguments that releasing the information is an unwarranted invasion of privacy prohibited by the state public records law or that its disclosure would automatically endanger the lives of gun owners or those who don't have firearms.
State police determine who gets Firearm Owners Identification cards but have always kept the information confidential. Despite the decree, the names likely won't be uncloaked soon.
A state police lawyer indicated in a letter Tuesday the agency planned to ask a judge to decide the matter. And Republican lawmakers have filed legislation to make names permanently private.
Through the Freedom of Information Act, The Associated Press requested in September the names of each FOID cardholder in the state and the expiration date of each card. State police denied the request, prompting the public access counselor's intervention.