CHICAGO – Days after an assassin on the roof killed seven people At a parade, attention was drawn to how the attacker obtained multiple weapons and whether Illinois book laws could have prevented the Independence Day massacre.
Gun laws in Illinois are generally praised by gun control advocates as being stricter than most states. But they didn’t stop Robert E. Crimo III execution of the attack in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park.
One focus is on the country’s so-called Warning Signals Act, which aims to temporarily disarm those displaying potentially violent behavior. Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have such laws.
Here’s a look at Illinois’ red flag and gun license laws and whether they could have applied to Crimo:
WHAT IS THE ILLINOIS RED FLAG LAW?
The law, which went into effect Jan. 1, 2019, empowers judges to order the temporary removal of firearms from people who a judge determines pose a danger to themselves or others, according to an explanation of the law from the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority . a government agency.
The court order, called the gun ban, also bans them from buying guns.
The law differs from domestic violence injunctions and laws that require reporting of certain behaviors by some professionals, such as B. Teachers, prescribe.
Illinois’ Red Flag Act, as in many states, is a civil matter. It is designed to be invoked within hours or days of someone making threats or exhibiting threatening behavior. It shall not be invoked on the basis of a clear crime.
HAS CRIMO EVER DISPLAYED THE TYPE OF BEHAVIOR THAT THE LAW MUST ENABLE?
It seems he did. But it’s not clear who knew about it, when, and whether law enforcement took the behavior seriously enough.
Less than three years ago, police went to Crimo’s home after a call from a family member who said he was threatening to “kill everyone,” according to Christopher Covelli, a spokesman for the Lake County Major Crimes Task Force.
Police confiscated 16 knives, a dagger and a sword, but said there was no evidence he had any weapons at this point in September 2019. Previously, in April 2019, police also responded to a reported suicide attempt by Crimo, Covelli said.
DOES THIS MEAN CRIMO PURCHASED THE GUN LEGALLY?
Yes. He legally purchased the Smith and Wesson M&P 15 semi-automatic rifle in Illinois last year.
The Illinois State Police Department, which issues licenses for gun owners, said in a statement that Crimo, then 19, applied for a license in December 2019. Applicants under the age of 21 must have a parent or legal guardian to sponsor the application. His father sponsored him.
Sponsors must sign an affidavit stating that the sponsor “is liable for all damages resulting from the use of firearms or firearm ammunition by the underage applicant.” The affidavit does not specify liability if the sponsor’s child uses a gun to commit a crime. It’s also not clear if that liability extends beyond the child’s age of 21, as Crimo did a year before the shooting.
State Police Director Brendan Kelly told reporters Wednesday that the father may face civil liability and that an investigation into criminal liability is ongoing. He said the matter would ultimately be decided in court.
Crimo family attorney Steve Greenberg told the Chicago Tribune that the father was unaware of the threats when he was helping his son apply because his son was living with another relative at the time.
When asked if the suspect’s parents could be charged as a result of what their son did, Greenberg told The Associated Press that “there’s no chance they’ll be charged with anything criminal.” He added: “You haven’t done anything wrong. “
HAVE THE HIGHLAND PARK POLICE RELEASED INFORMATION ABOUT THE THREATS TO THE STATE POLICE?
They did. State police confirmed they received a warning from Highland Park police months before Crimo applied for his license. It’s not clear if the state agency reviewed Highland Park’s report before granting the license.
A statement from state police said only that “there was insufficient basis to determine a clear and present threat” to deny the request.
Under Illinois law, if Crimo was convicted or convicted of serious mental health issues, Crimo likely would not have received a license. He had no such record.
IS THE LAW FREQUENTLY APPEED?
It appears to be rarely used, although associated records are sometimes sealed, making it difficult to get a complete picture. The Illinois Legislature in 2021 included provisions to raise awareness of the state’s warning sign laws and how to apply them.
The Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority cites a prosecution by an advocacy group, Speak for Safety Illinois, which reports that 34 firearm restraining orders were filed in 2019 and 19 in 2020. Most were granted.
A Chicago suburb, DuPage County, accounted for 12 of the filings each year, it said. And no other county, including Lake County, which includes Highland Park, has filed more than two during those years.
The vast majority of requests were made by law enforcement agencies, with family members making only five requests in 2019.
WHO CAN REQUEST AN ORDER AND HOW TO MAKE A DECISION?
A relative, roommate, or law enforcement officer can make the request by filing an application with a local county court. In some cases, others may try to start the process by contacting the police.
Red flags in some states allow doctors, teachers, and colleagues to file applications, while others limit applications to law enforcement only.
In Illinois, the onus for a judge to prove that someone poses a significant threat is on those making the motion. They can turn to multiple sources, including witness testimonies of violent behavior, substance abuse, police records, or threatening social media posts and emails.
If a judge sides with the petitioner, the court will issue a firearms restraining order, allowing law enforcement to immediately confiscate all weapons from the person deemed a threat and preventing them from purchasing guns and ammunition.
If they have one, they must also hand in their gun owner’s ID.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER AN ORDER?
An emergency directive can be issued on the same day and remains valid for up to 14 days. The judge can rule on this without the subject of the application being present.
If the emergency order is issued, it will be followed by a full hearing, after which a judge will decide whether a longer, six-month order is warranted. The standard of evidence is higher at such a hearing. Subjects at a hearing may argue before a judge why an order is not required.
If the six-month order is granted, it cannot easily be extended. If the person who made the initial application continues to pose a risk from the subject of the order, a new hearing must be held with the same burden of proof.
DO RED FLAG LAWS PREVENT VIOLENCE?
According to the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, there is clear evidence that firearm restraints help prevent some suicides. What is less clear is that they prevent deadly acts of gun violence such as mass shootings. The causes of such attacks are often too complex to draw clear connections, says the agency.
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