* 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.]
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.”