Most Illinois Gun Revocation Notices Went Ignored

CHICAGO (CN) – Over 75 percent of Illinois residents who received gun license revocation notices last year ignored them, according to a report from the state police force.

(AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

In the report released Thursday, Illinois State Police revealed that about 10,800 firearm-owner cards were revoked in 2018, but only about 2,600 people complied by returning their firearms and licenses.

The findings came in response to questions surrounding gunman Gary Martin, who fatally shot five co-workers at Henry Pratt Co. in Aurora, Illinois, last week before he was killed by police.

“The only way we can honor those who died — the only way we will ever be safer — is to shine the brightest light on the good, bad, and ugly of this system and to lay bare for the public and policy makers the depth and breadth of our vulnerabilities,” ISP Acting Director Brendan F. Kelly said in a statement.

Police say Martin should not have been able to legally purchase the Smith & Wesson .40-caliber handgun he used due to his 1995 felony aggravated assault conviction in Mississippi. However, records show that he received his owner’s permit in 2014 and bought the gun after he passed two background checks.

A Firearm Owner’s Identification, or FOID, background check consists of a name and date of birth confirmation, and a criminal record search through national databases.

“As a result of the queries, Martin’s Illinois criminal history revealed no prohibiting factors to obtain a FOID. Additionally, Martin’s Mississippi arrest information was not revealed in any of the national databases,” according to the report.

But just 10 days after he bought the gun, his conviction was discovered when he applied for a concealed-carry license. He had opted to expedite the process by providing his fingerprints, which disclosed his Mississippi conviction.

Police allegedly sent his revocation notice but an “exhaustive search” showed he is one of the thousands of Illinois residents who did not comply with such a notice.

Had they known he did not comply, authorities could have petitioned a judge for a search warrant to look for the firearm, but such measures are not required by state law.

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