CHICAGO (CBS) — There have been six million gun background checks done in Illinois just this year.

That’s by far the most of any state and a record in Illinois. It also helps explain the growing delays for firearm owner ID cards. CBS 2 Investigator Megan Hickey reports the delays have gotten worse.

Since CBS 2 reported on the FOID card delays back in June, the average wait times have more than doubled. And applicants said they just want more communication.

It took Rick Muermann from St. Charles more than five months to get his hands on that piece of plastic. The Firearms Owner Identification Card, or FOID card, that allows him to legally purchase and possess a gun. By law the process should take 30 days. But ISP said the average wait time has ballooned to 122.

“No one would wait 160 days for the Comcast guy to come to your house,” Muermann said.

He was one of dozens of applicants who reached out to the CBS 2 Investigators looking for answers. Applications are still way up. The Illinois State Police offered a 12-month grace period due to the pandemic. But Kevin Mick said he still wasn’t able to pick up a rifle that he bought for his daughter in the spring.

“They’re waiting for me to come back with a valid FOID card,” Mick said.

These viewers‚ pending background checks represent two of more than six million so far this year in the state of Illinois.The highest number in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System’s 22-year history. ISP said it responded to the record numbers by hiring 21 Firearms Eligibility Analyst trainees.

Although they do take several months to fully train. Background checks do not necessarily translate to firearm sales. And that’s because, in part, unlicensed sellers are not required to perform background checks in the state of Illinois.

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Megan Hickey