Illinois State Police officials said Thursday that theyve stepped up enforcement efforts in the past year to get guns out of the hands of people who shouldn't have them after a deadly workplace shooting, but they need more resources to do the job.
The state's top law enforcement official, Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly, also called on state lawmakers to pass a controversial bill that would require people who want to get a Firearm Owners Identification card to submit fingerprints. In Illinois, a FOID card is required to legally buy firearms and ammunition. The bill was in response to a 2019 mass shooting.
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.
"Its not easy, but you have to have the people to go out there and [say] hey there sir, you lost your FOID, you were just charged with a felony,' " Kelly said.
He said state police were not going after some old fellow who got his FOID not renewed, or some nice lady who moved to Florida and no longer has Illinois residency and is therefore revoked."
Were focused on the person who had a recent firearms purchase and recently was charged with a nasty violent crime in their jurisdiction, thats who were focused on, Kelly said.
Kelly also called for lawmakers to pass Senate Bill 1966, which would double FOID card fees people pay to apply for the card. It would also require applicants to submit fingerprints.
I think we did a decent job of pushing back here on Kellys comments made today back in January.