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Despite ISP’s post-Aurora shooting efforts, “revoked FOID cardholders who have not accounted for their guns rose 14 percent”

Friday, Feb 14, 2020

* First, some background

On Feb. 15, 2019, a man shot and killed five co-workers at a warehouse in Aurora before he was killed by police. Illinois State Police said the shooter, Gary Martin, bought a gun in 2014 with a valid Firearm Owners Identification card. Martin had a prior conviction in another state that made him ineligible to qualify for a FOID card, but he lied about that conviction when he applied to the Illinois State Police for a FOID card. The agency did a background check for Martin in Illinois. Illinois State Police later revoked Martin’s FOID card after he submitted fingerprints to speed up the processing of his application for a concealed carry license. Those prints alerted officials to his conviction in Mississippi, ISP officials said at the time.

ISP Director Brendan Kelly said Thursday at a news conference in Springfield that in the wake of the Aurora shooting, state police had stepped up enforcement efforts. Since May 2019, Kelly said law enforcement agencies conducted more than 200 revoked FOID card details across the state.

* Team coverage today in the Tribune

By the time Christopher Miller showed up at his estranged wife’s backdoor in September 2019 with a pistol in his waistband, state authorities already had declared him too dangerous to own firearms.

He had lost his gun license 20 months earlier after being charged with aggravated battery for brutally beating a man in a Naperville parking lot. He disregarded orders to relinquish any weapons, and no one made sure he complied.

Miller startled his wife that autumn afternoon as she moved around the kitchen making a snack for her daughter. With cocaine and alcohol in his system, he stared at Cassandra Tanner Miller with hazel eyes so dilated they appeared black.

“Are you all ready to die today?” he asked as he suddenly burst into the Joliet house.

Within minutes, Miller had choked his wife until she lost consciousness and fatally shot his 18-month-old son, Colton, with a .22-caliber Ruger — one of at least three handguns in his possession despite orders from the Illinois State Police to relinquish any firearms in January 2018. Miller fired that illicit gun so many times, at least 10, the coroner could not definitively track the bullets that shattered the toddler’s skull. […]

Since the Aurora shooting and a year after officials sounded the alarms, the number of revoked FOID cardholders who have not accounted for their guns rose 14%, from 26,797 in February 2019 to 30,602 people in December. [Emphasis added.]

* Finke

Fingerprinting gun owners in Illinois would help keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them, Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly said Thursday.

That’s why, Kelly said, the Illinois Senate should give final approval to Senate Bill 1966 that includes a provision that a person applying for or renewing a Firearm Owners Identification Card must submit a set of fingerprints.

“Compliance with FOID laws does not always result in criminal charges,” Kelly said. “The goal is to keep guns out of the hands of people prohibited from having them.”

Kelly spoke as the state neared the one-year anniversary of the mass shooting at the Henry Pratt Company in Aurora. Six people were killed in the shooting, including the shooter. Six others were wounded.

* WSIL TV

Kelly says the victims and survivors of the Aurora shooting deserve honesty and the best efforts from police. He explained Senate Bill 1966 could bring in close to $6.2 million a year in grant funding for FOID card enforcement.

“That bill will provide additional resources necessary to sustain and improve our efforts to improve our access to fingerprint-associated records across the country, and to support local law enforcement’s ability to accomplish this public safety mission,” said Kelly.

The proposal would also drop the FOID card renewal period to five years, instead of 10. That bill passed out of the House last spring before stalling in the Senate. Kelly hopes the plan will gain enough support in the coming months to make it to the Governor’s desk. Pritzker has previously announced his support for the bill.

* Daily Herald

In 2018, Kelly said, a little more than 2,000 firearm disposal reports were filed with the state, signifying a gun that had either been seized, turned in or turned over to a person legally entitled to possess it.

Last year, there were 4,562 reports filed, Kelly said.

“By any measure, that’s an improvement,” he said. “Is it good enough? Hell, no. We’ve got a lot more to do.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

37 Comments »
  1. - njt - Friday, Feb 14, 20 @ 10:05 am:

    From the bill - “Provides that the Director of State Police shall (rather than may) establish a statewide multi-jurisdictional Violent Crime Intelligence Task Force. Provides that the Violent Crime Intelligence Task Force shall also conduct enforcement operations against persons whose Firearm Owner’s Identification Cards have been revoked or suspended and persons who fail to comply with the revocation or suspension requirements of the Firearm Owners Identification Card Act, prioritizing individuals presenting a clear and present danger to themselves or to others under that Act.”

    Sounds great and as a gun carrying liberal I’m glad to hear Kelly’s support.


  2. - Candy Dogood - Friday, Feb 14, 20 @ 10:08 am:

    This really throws that law abiding gun owner myth out the door.

    Right along with advocating for creating counties exempt from laws, promising not to follow laws, and supporting prosecutors and local law enforcement that refuse to prosecute or carry out the law.

    ===He explained Senate Bill 1966 could bring in close to $6.2 million a year in grant funding for FOID card enforcement.===

    $6.2 million out the door to local law enforcement agencies that still won’t do their jobs.

    If we can’t get a police culture that stops murdering people, and we can’t get a police culture that consistently enforces state law, then we need to get a new police force.

    Period.

    Carrots aren’t going to work, and we’re already dealing with a group of fat rabbits that don’t respect the law makers and whole segments of the communities they serve.

    Penalties. It’s time for penalties.

    If they’re not going to do their jobs, there should be a reduction in funding or discipline leading to the door.

    If the cops aren’t doing their jobs we should either be firing them or refusing to pay them.


  3. - Kevin Highland - Friday, Feb 14, 20 @ 10:09 am:

    “Senate Bill 1966 could bring in close to $6.2 million a year in grant funding for FOID card enforcement.”

    Isn’t this just about the same amount per year that was swept from the fund that FOID & CCW fee payers submitted?


  4. - Bourbon Street - Friday, Feb 14, 20 @ 10:13 am:

    I’m not opposed, but when is the legislature going to adequately fund the FOID section of the ISP? Didn’t we just hear about a backlog of 62,000 new and renewal applications in January? If ISP can’t keep up with 10-year renewals, how in the world will it keep up with 5-year renewals?


  5. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Friday, Feb 14, 20 @ 10:14 am:

    The Christopher Miller story is so sad. Besides making sure he didn’t have access to his guns, he should have gotten mental help services when he was charged with aggravated battery. He sounds like a damaged person.


  6. - Kevin Highland - Friday, Feb 14, 20 @ 10:14 am:

    It would be interesting to know the reason the FOID was revoked. If it was due to out migration, is it possible those 14% left the state and didn’t feel the need to answer to a state they no longer resided in.


  7. - JS Mill - Friday, Feb 14, 20 @ 10:36 am:

    Like many regulations, they do not matter much if there is no one is around to enforce them. Something that often is neglected.


  8. - Candy Dogood - Friday, Feb 14, 20 @ 10:39 am:

    ===Besides making sure he didn’t have access to his guns, he should have gotten mental help services when he was charged with aggravated battery. ===

    This kind of comment may accidentally be a red-herring in this policy discussion because this is specifically about FOID, not about universal access to healthcare, including universal access to mental healthcare — or a policy discussing the ability to afford mental healthcare.

    ===He sounds like a damaged person.===

    Fixed that for you.


  9. - Occam - Friday, Feb 14, 20 @ 10:44 am:

    You need to know how many of the 26,797 outstanding revocation notices as of 2/19 were cleared by year-end and how many new revocation notices were issued from 2/19 to 12/19. Perhaps all 30,602 outstanding notices are all recently issued notices, which means 100% of the old ones were cleared up. Or perhaps none of the original 26,797 were cleared up during the course of the year and new notifications during 2019 totaled 3,805 to end up at 30,602. Or, most likely, its somewhere in the middle and one can’t come to any conclusions unless the details are made available.


  10. - Lawman - Friday, Feb 14, 20 @ 10:48 am:

    So the State Police have not used millions in FOID card fees, the FOID card fees have been swept and the proposed solution is to collect even more millions in FOID card fees.

    Perhaps the State Police should use the funds that are and have been available to them. Why raise more fees when they cannot or will not expend the fees that are already available to them.


  11. - Matt B - Friday, Feb 14, 20 @ 10:54 am:

    Has the state stopped sweeping needed funds away from Foid/CCL administration? Moving to 5 year renewals is absurd and only increases administrative burden for the ISP that they already can’t handle with 10 year renewals. There is no safety benefit to 5 year renewals… the state runs checks daily on FOID holders, police need to follow through on enforcement.


  12. - fs - Friday, Feb 14, 20 @ 11:02 am:

    == If ISP can’t keep up with 10-year renewals, how in the world will it keep up with 5-year renewals?==

    This is a point that gets lost in the shuffle. Instead of spreading out renewals of 2 million+ cards over 10 years, that will be compacted to 5 years. Good luck with that.

    Also being glossed over by many is the cost of fingerprinting. Not only are you quadrupling the cost of the card itself, you’re adding fingerprinting fees onto the total cost for a first time applicant. There are serious constitutional concerns that will be contested imposing that kind of financial burden for the excessive of an express constitutional right. If they feel this is a big enough public concern, the public as a whole should bear the cost of it.


  13. - Elmer Keith - Friday, Feb 14, 20 @ 11:11 am:

    The most frightening aspect of the Aurora shooting spree was not the lone nut, it was the militarized police with armored vehicles operating outside their jurisdictions. If assault weapons are so dangerous, then remove full-auto guns from the police also. Institute annual psych exams to remove guns from psychos and police torturers like Jon Burge, then talk about fingerprinting gun owners.

    Richard Pearson from ISRA has threatened to sue if the fix the FOID fingerprinting bill becomes law. So now he gets brave? Pearson and Valinda Rowe groveled to the police unions during Brandon Phelps’ concealed carry bill in 2013 and gave them everything they wanted: criminal penalties and Duty to Inform. Now the gun hicks figure out that police are not their friends?


  14. - Ken_in_Aurora - Friday, Feb 14, 20 @ 11:16 am:

    — Candy Dogood - Friday, Feb 14, 20 @ 10:08 am:

    This really throws that law abiding gun owner myth out the door.—

    Because a few criminal gun owners define all of us, right? Great logic.

    To the post:

    The issue of people who lose the right to own weapons but don’t demonstrate they have appropriately disposed of them need to urgently be addressed. I know FOID isn’t popular among many gun owners, but there needs to be mandatory and timely followup by police when a FOID is revoked. Local LE doesn’t seem to want to consistently touch it, so make it an ISP thing - and fund it.


  15. - Heyseed - Friday, Feb 14, 20 @ 11:38 am:

    The whole FOID system is backwards: the state police should be concentrating on maintaining a list of individuals who are legally ineligible to possess firearms rather than trying to maintain a list of people who ARE eligible and then trying to subtract the ineligible from it. Of course it doesn’t work, the purpose of the FOID system is to create bureaucratic stumbling blocks for law-abiding gun owners rather than keep track of the trouble-makers.


  16. - RNUG - Friday, Feb 14, 20 @ 11:41 am:

    Like others, I have a problem with the fingerprint requirement, specifically the cost imposed on the applicant. No other exercise of a Constitutional right requires the citizen to pay. Up until now, people have been willing to pay the minimal amount for the FOID because it wasn’t worth the court costs to fight it, but I expect that will change. I draw an analogy to the Federal court rulings on laws requiring voter IDs, you can’t have a poll tax (make people pay for ID to vote).

    If the government wants to pay for the fingerprinting, I could probably go along with that. After all, the government has had my fingerprints on file for 50 years as part of the security clearance for my State job.


  17. - Candy Dogood - Friday, Feb 14, 20 @ 11:52 am:

    ===Because a few criminal gun owners define all of us, right? Great logic.===

    The argument that regulation or law is not required because the majority of those who own fire arms are in compliance with existing gun law is a silly argument. Everyone knows it’s a silly argument.

    The fact that someone breaks a law and is no longer able to legally own guns and isn’t celebrated by the 2nd Amendment community when they voluntarily turn over their weapons is a little disheartening to this argument.

    So, here we have a sample of “law abiding gun owners” that stop having the legal right to own guns and then do not immediately turn over their weapons, et al, to be in compliance with the law.

    So this would indicate that out of this sample, “law abiding gun owners” doesn’t really mean anything special. If there’s no penalty for the action, their’s no reason for them to voluntarily follow the law and they don’t.

    So “law abiding gun owners” is the most worthless classification of a group imaginable, and in other realms of policy we don’t use this distinction being as broadly argued. There’s not a lobby of “Food safety following restaurants” arguing against food safety, there’s not a group of “Responsible alcoholics” against OWIs, or “Safe elevator operators” arguing against permits.

    Instead of seeing gun owners actively promoting a culture where folks that illegally own or possess firearms are shunned, ostracized, or cruelly mocked, we see a culture among gun owners that promotes:

    “Come and take them.”

    Where’s the “Give them up peacefully because that’s the law” faction of gun owners?

    Because I haven’t heard from them much.


  18. - Jocko - Friday, Feb 14, 20 @ 11:54 am:

    ==No other exercise of a Constitutional right requires the citizen to pay.==

    It could be argued that a 1st amendment rally might require a permit or proof of insurance.


  19. - Anotheretiree - Friday, Feb 14, 20 @ 12:04 pm:

    This is where I take off my liberal hat and put on a MAGA gunowner hat. Fingerprints have a false positive rate of around .001 - .002 So out of say 100,00 people, 100-200 will be flagged. Will you pay my legal bills if I’m unlucky ? If scanning for criminals while people exercise constitutional rights is now ok,how about a fingerprint scanner or facial recognition scan before you post on here ? You wont mind the knock on the door will you ?


  20. - ike - Friday, Feb 14, 20 @ 12:23 pm:

    Anotheretiree - What?


  21. - The Birth of a Nation - Friday, Feb 14, 20 @ 12:36 pm:

    >>>>“Come and take them.”

    >>>>Where’s the “Give them up peacefully because that’s the law” faction of gun owners?

    Remember when the Red Coats tried to take the firearms of the colonists, under color of law?


  22. - 17% Solution - Friday, Feb 14, 20 @ 12:40 pm:

    == Will you pay my legal bills if I’m unlucky?==
    What legal bills? If the fingerprints are wrong and you don’t have a criminal record you should have a lot of other ways to prove that you are you.


  23. - Bourbon Street - Friday, Feb 14, 20 @ 12:41 pm:

    @ Jocko, Interesting point, but if we’re talking about a rally large enough to require a permit or proof of insurance, there are issues related to possible property damage, crowd control necessitating a police presence, and other circumstances that are not normally attendant to the exercise of one’s first amendment rights. The government often requires fee payments to cover administrative costs, e.g. court filing fees (which can be waived for those who are indigent).

    However, I agree with RNUG in that I do not have to pay the government a fee in order to be able to say what I want, worship where I choose, cross state borders, vote, and otherwise exercise my Constitutional rights.

    I’m not sure how a court would rule about the constitutionality of imposing the cost of fingerprints on an applicant.


  24. - Rich Miller - Friday, Feb 14, 20 @ 12:42 pm:

    === I do not have to pay the government a fee in order to be able to say what I want===

    You do if you’re a lobbyist.


  25. - Last Bull Moose - Friday, Feb 14, 20 @ 12:45 pm:

    Fingerprinting costs can be cut if we allow applicants to use fingerprints on file. U S Army, City of Chicago, State of Illinois, and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia already have my prints. Chicago and Illinois prints would be readily available.


  26. - fs - Friday, Feb 14, 20 @ 12:54 pm:

    == You do if you’re a lobbyist.==

    But you don’t if you’re everyday Joe Citizen just wanting to state your opinion. The foid, a fee just to own or possess, is the equivalent of charging him a fee. As others noted, the comparison to voter id isn’t a bad point.


  27. - Bourbon Street - Friday, Feb 14, 20 @ 1:00 pm:

    @ Rich. True, and I can think of other instances where people have to pay fees in order to talk under certain conditions, e.g. lawyers have to pay an annual fee to get their law licenses renewed. I (and I think RNUG) was referring to the exercise of constitutional rights under ordinary circumstances. Whether a government fee is considered an unconstitutional burden on the exercise of one’s rights is usually determined on a case-by-case manner.


  28. - fs - Friday, Feb 14, 20 @ 1:00 pm:

    == I’m not sure how a court would rule about the constitutionality of imposing the cost of fingerprints on an applicant.==

    Courts strike down fees on exercise of rights where they are essentially a general revenue tax, and also where they impose a burden high enough to effectively prevent someone from exercising their right. Voter id laws have been upheld where the fee was minimal and waivers for those claiming a hardship are put in place. That’s not in this bill, and there’s only so high you can raise a fee without someone having a reasonable argument they can’t afford it.


  29. - Rich Miller - Friday, Feb 14, 20 @ 1:01 pm:

    ===The foid, a fee just to own or possess, is the equivalent of charging him a fee===

    Please. You can’t literally talk somebody to death. FOID was a compromise to avoid making owners register all their guns individually. Careful what you wish for.


  30. - 17% Solution - Friday, Feb 14, 20 @ 1:02 pm:

    == This kind of comment may accidentally be a red-herring in this policy discussion because this is specifically about FOID, not about universal access to healthcare, including universal access to mental healthcare — or a policy discussing the ability to afford mental healthcare.==

    The goal of revoking weapons in the hands of criminals (and what happens if it fails)is what this policy discussion is about.

    Just revoking weapons isn’t enough. There needs to be a multi-pronged approach to how we handle damaged people.

    Christopher Miller was in police custody when he had a meltdown in Naperville. He could have gotten mental health services when he was in police custody. This isn’t a affordable healthcare issue, prisoners get healthcare.

    Setting him loose in the world didn’t work out so well.


  31. - Maximus - Friday, Feb 14, 20 @ 1:06 pm:

    Some research I need to do (as a gunowner) and I dont know the answer. If a person has their FOID suspended and they have to turn over their guns to the state police, how do the state police know all the guns are accounted for? If the person in question bought a handgun from a friend would the police even know it should be one of the firearms handed over?


  32. - RNUG - Friday, Feb 14, 20 @ 1:07 pm:

    == FOID was a compromise to avoid making owners register all their guns individually. Careful what you wish for. ==

    True … and I’m old enough to remember when the FOID was implemented in, I think, 1968. I’ve had one since 1975 and the fee so far has been reasonable.


  33. - RNUG - Friday, Feb 14, 20 @ 1:09 pm:

    == how do the state police know all the guns are accounted for? ==

    The short answer is: they don’t know.


  34. - fs - Friday, Feb 14, 20 @ 1:13 pm:

    == Please. You can’t literally talk somebody to death. FOID was a compromise to avoid making owners register all their guns individually. Careful what you wish for.==

    It was also instituted around the same time many places were instituting fees on rights as a way to effectively limit the ability of poor (mostly) minorities from exercising those rights. So, if they want to keep raising the fees I’ll say the same thing: be careful what you wish for. The plaintiff in the concealed carry case wasn’t a white dude from the South.


  35. - FormerParatrooper - Friday, Feb 14, 20 @ 1:43 pm:

    The State set the fees and standards. We paid to exercise our right. The State took the funds, left the FOID and CCW division under staffed, and now demanding more money? I think not.


  36. - revvedup - Friday, Feb 14, 20 @ 1:45 pm:

    Brendan Kelly is grasping at straws, hoping somebody falls for this scam. Fingerprints won’t stop the lack of FOID enforcement actions, nor will Kelly admit that fingerprinted criminals still get guns illegally, thereby rendering the FOID and other laws useless. Finally Kelly refuses to publicly ask the Governor to return the swept FOID/CCL fee money redirected into the General Fund, which harms ISP’s ability to administer and enforce existing laws. Instead he’d rather burden the law-abiding with fees and paperwork.


  37. - IL-ANNOID - Friday, Feb 14, 20 @ 2:09 pm:

    Before we raise FOID fees by requiring fingerprinting, let’s stop sweeping the funds away and keep them in the accounts they are legally designated to be in. Let’s try that before adding another layer of bureaucratic overreach.


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