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Yes, something can be done

Tuesday, Nov 20, 2018

* An April 26, 2018 Sun-Times editorial

This week, Chicago Inspector General Joe Ferguson reported that Chicago police routinely fail to notify the Illinois State Police when they recover a firearm from someone who is a “clear and present danger” to themselves or the public. State law requires such notification within 24 hours.

With that information, the state police could then revoke that person’s FOID — Firearm Owner’s Identification — card because of mental unfitness.

Yet in 37 cases that Ferguson sampled in the last 3 ½ years, that notification never happened.

It’s scary to think that after officers transported someone who had a gun to a mental health facility, as happened in those 37 instances, they failed to take every step possible — and as required by law — to make sure that person’s gun was confiscated and not returned. It’s even scarier to contemplate, given how routinely the police encounter unstable individuals, the hundreds of other times when officers, knowingly or not, have no doubt ignored the law.

To their credit, the Chicago Police Department has responded quickly to Ferguson’s findings, updating orders to clarify when and what officers must do to enforce the mandate. But CPD has not been the only broken link. State police also have fallen short.

We reported back in 2015 that state police were largely ignoring a law requiring that they track guns owned by thousands of people whose FOID cards had been revoked for mental health reasons. A Chicago Tribune report in February 2017 found things hadn’t changed much: State police revoked more than 11,000 FOID cards the previous year, but rarely took guns away as a result.

Fixing this problem needs to be a top priority of the incoming Pritzker administration. And whomever is nominated to run the Illinois State Police needs to be pressed hard on this issue during the Senate confirmation process.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

12 Comments
  1. - illini - Tuesday, Nov 20, 18 @ 10:25 am:

    — “State police revoked more than 11,000 FOID cards the previous year, but rarely took guns away as a result.” —

    Am I reading this correctly? Does anyone honestly believe that revoking FOID cards will solve anything? What kind of world are we living in?


  2. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Nov 20, 18 @ 10:29 am:

    === Does anyone honestly believe that revoking FOID cards will solve anything?===

    It solves nothing unless they give up their guns or their guns are confiscated.


  3. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Nov 20, 18 @ 10:31 am:

    –Fixing this problem needs to be a top priority of the incoming Pritzker administration. And whomever is nominated to run the Illinois State Police needs to be pressed hard on this issue during the Senate confirmation process.–

    Agreed. No one says it will be easy, but the law needs to be enforced.

    If you’ll recall, the Nashville massacre shooter had his FOID card revoked, but authorities did not take his weapons.


  4. - Amalia - Tuesday, Nov 20, 18 @ 10:33 am:

    do everything possible. prevent however we can.


  5. - illini - Tuesday, Nov 20, 18 @ 10:34 am:

    Thank you, Rich. My point exactly.


  6. - Truthteller - Tuesday, Nov 20, 18 @ 10:45 am:

    So far, doing nothing has accomplished nothing…suggesting taking any action won’t help is saying we have no control. I for one do not believe that.


  7. - Annonin' - Tuesday, Nov 20, 18 @ 11:09 am:

    Nashville?
    Was that the Waffle House shooting? Fine IL whackjob. Court took guns, gave them to the father who returned them to shooter.
    Seems like all sides could agree the whack jobs should be disarmed.


  8. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Nov 20, 18 @ 11:49 am:

    It was reported that this guy threatened to shoot up a city Fire building some years ago. Was that reported to law enforcement? Did the city, knowing this, report it anyone? If not, why not?


  9. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Nov 20, 18 @ 12:44 pm:

    The common retort from the NRA types is that we have plenty of gun laws on the books right now but they are not enforced. (They leave out the part about how their lobby has suppressed that enforcement in many ways, see ATF).

    Asking for new gun laws right out of the starting gate might be a heavy lift for the incoming governor… but it sure would be nice to see the state go full-out on that enforcement of the existing laws thing; what could the gun lovers say? I’d dedicate an entire class or two of ISP cadets to it.


  10. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Tuesday, Nov 20, 18 @ 12:58 pm:

    ==And whomever is nominated to run the Illinois State Police needs to be pressed hard on this issue during the Senate confirmation process.==

    Nominee would likely say all the right things and then ignore it once confirmed. The ISP doesn’t want to start widespread confiscation actions, they’d focus on the worst possible result and decline. All it takes is one person with a revoked FOID starting an armed standoff, next thing you know there’s an army of GI Joe cosplayers from out west occupying the Lincoln museum. Downstate counties refusing to cooperate because of recently passed “sanctuary county” ordinances, roving bands of NRA lawyers zooming from courthouse to courthouse, ILRA issuing screeds about violations of the constitution by ISP and thinly veiled “tree-of-liberty” threats towards Pritzker. National media swarms. The fool in the White House tweeting warnings about sending the US army into Illinois.

    ISP would rather not become the focus of a national circus, probably.


  11. - Flapdoodle - Tuesday, Nov 20, 18 @ 12:59 pm:

    ///=== Does anyone honestly believe that revoking FOID cards will solve anything?===
    It solves nothing unless they give up their guns or their guns are confiscated.///
    As a gun owner, I couldn’t agree more (except to add that revoking FOID cards increases the difficulty of buying ammunition)


  12. - Blue Dog Dem - Tuesday, Nov 20, 18 @ 3:57 pm:

    Amalia. Do everything possible. You dont mean what I think you mean, do you?


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