How State Laws Regulate Gun Purchases – Herald Publications
Highland Park shooter was able to buy an assault weapon despite previous clashes with police
By BETH HUNSDORFER
Illinois Capitol News
A mass shooting in Highland Park during a 4th of July parade has raised questions about how the suspect was able to obtain a gun in a state with some of the strictest gun laws in the country .
Law enforcement officials say Highland Park shooting suspect Robert Crimo III, 21, legally purchased and possessed the Smith & Wesson M&P 15 he used in the attack that took place. killed at least seven people and injured dozens.
Illinois gun laws regulate the purchase and possession of firearms and ammunition. In order to legally own a firearm, the owner must have a firearm owner’s identification card.
Despite the existence of two previous reports of apparent suicidal and homicidal tendencies exhibited by Crimo, he obtained a FOID card and was legally authorized to purchase weapons and ammunition.
In April 2019, Highland Park Police responded to a call that Crimo had attempted suicide with a machete a week earlier. The report also said it was run by “mental health professionals”.
In September 2019, police returned to the home in response to a report that Crimo was using drugs, depressed and had threatened to “kill everyone”.
Crimo and her mother have denied this account. Highland Park Police first confiscated 16 knives and a sword. No one was arrested and Crimo’s father claimed ownership of the knives, which the police later returned to him.
At that time, Highland Park Police completed a “Clear and Present Danger” form. The form states that clear and current danger reports are to be used by Illinois State Police to identify individuals who, if they have access to a firearm or ammunition, pose a real threat and imminent serious bodily harm to themselves or others.
The Illinois State Police Bureau of Firearms Services, the administrator of the FOID card program, determines whether the subject of the Clear and Present Danger Report has a FOID card or has an application for it. waiting. At the time, Crimo had neither.
But three months after the September 2019 visit by Highland Park Police, Crimo applied for a FOID card. Because at that time he was still under 21, he needed a sponsor for approval. Her father signed the application, state police said.
After Crimo submitted his application, a background check would be initiated to determine if there were any circumstances that prohibited him from owning a firearm.
Illinois law allows state police to deny an application for a FOID card, or to revoke or seize a FOID card, if they find that the current or potential cardholder is subject to one of following disqualifications:
Is under the age of 21 and has been convicted of a misdemeanor or declared a delinquent;
Has been convicted of a felony under the laws of Illinois or any other jurisdiction;
is addicted to narcotics;
Has been a patient of a mental health facility within the past five years;
Is mentally or developmentally disabled;
Was involuntarily committed to a mental health facility;
Intentionally misrepresented the FOID card application;
Has been convicted within the past five years of assault, battery, aggravated assault, or breach of a protective order in which a firearm was used or possessed;
Was convicted of domestic assault or aggravated domestic assault.
If Crimo had had a FOID card or had a pending application at the time Highland Park Police filed the clear and present danger form, analysts should have determined whether there was a preponderance of evidence – a charge from the evidence that is met when it is determined that there is more than a 50 percent chance that the allegation is true – to issue a clear and current danger determination.
Crimo had no previous criminal convictions on his adult record. His only conviction was for possession of tobacco by a minor when he was 16 years old. Under Illinois law, juvenile convictions are sealed.
Despite the two calls to the Highland Park police, including the attempted suicide and the threat of violence, Illinois State Police Superintendent Brendan Kelly said there were no reason the Illinois State Police does not issue the FOID card. State police said there were no reports from a psychiatric hospital or provider that triggered a ban.
And although an unidentified resident of the family home said he was afraid to return home after the September 2019 call to Highland Park police, there was no protective order.
Illinois also has a “red flag” law, officially the Firearm Restraining Order Act, which is usually sued in circuit court in response to various actions, including brandishing a firearm, threatening to use of a firearm and violation of a protection order, among others.
While existing prohibitions on gun ownership are determined by an individual’s criminal or mental health history, gun prohibition orders are different because they are an immediate but temporary action. .
Crimo’s FOID card request was one of more than 23,977 received by the Office of Firearms Services in December 2019 and one of 309,176 received throughout the year. It was approved in January of the following year.
In addition to the FOID background check, Crimo would have been subject to additional background checks through the Federal Nationwide Instant Criminal Background Check system when purchasing firearms. Crimo passed the checks on June 9, 2020, July 18, 2020, July 31, 2020 and September 20, 2021.
Crimo confessed to the shooting. He was charged with seven counts of first degree murder. He remains in jail without bail pending trial.