This article was published by the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, February 20, 2019:
The anti-gun bias of the Chicago Tribune shined through in its editorial on Sunday: “After Aurora, Illinois has to tighten gun law enforcement.” In simple terms, the editors were calling for more of what didn’t work, hoping that somehow, in the future, it would:
According to authorities, the man who fatally shot five employees of Henry Pratt Co. and wounded several officers Friday was a convicted felon. Gary Martin served time in prison in Mississippi in the 1990s for aggravated assault. Yet about a decade later, he was issued an Illinois firearm owner’s identification card and purchased a Smith & Wesson .40-caliber handgun.
Not everyone is allowed to have a FOID [state-required firearm owner identification card]. A felony conviction is a disqualifier. Martin wasn’t flagged until after his purchase, when he sought a concealed carry license. It appears that during the background check process, which included fingerprinting, his criminal record popped up. What happened next? Frustratingly, not enough. Martin’s FOID was revoked, but he kept his firearm — later using it to cause a bloodbath in Aurora.
There are gun laws on the books designed to keep weapons away from dangerous people. Then there is enforcement. In this instance, there was a deadly lapse. Martin should never have received a FOID. Once that error was discovered, Illinois State Police apparently would have notified Martin by letter that he was not legally eligible to own a gun. Obviously, he either never got notification or ignored it. And no one took his gun away.
How did this happen? How could it possibly have happened? Martin lied.
Illinois is known for its draconian gun control laws, including requirements that no one is allowed to possess a firearm unless he or she first obtains a state-issued firearm owners’ identification (FOID) card.
That’s what Martin did in January 2014. He applied, but he lied. On the application, the question was asked about any previous felony convictions, yes or no. Martin answered no.
His FOID card was issued in March, and a few days later he used it to purchase a pistol. He took possession of it after the state-imposed five-day waiting period had ended.
Martin then applied for a concealed carry permit. Its slightly more rigorous background check revealed that he had spent more than two years in a Mississippi jail in 1995 after being convicted of aggravated assault on his ex-girlfriend.
In April, his CCW application was denied and his FOID was revoked. Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman explained what happened next:
Once this felony conviction was discovered, the offender’s concealed-carry permit [sic: application] was rejected, and his FOID card was revoked by Illinois State Police.
Per state policy, Martin was notified by mail that his FOID card had been revoked, stating that he had 48 hours to return it along with proof that he had disposed of the firearm he had purchased with it.
Martin ignored the letter.
Last Friday, following a series of disciplinary actions taken by the company where he had worked for 15 years, Martin was fired. Immediately, according to reports, he pulled out his weapon and started firing indiscriminately. He killed five of his former co-workers and was himself killed following a 90-minute standoff inside the factory where he worked.
Law enforcement officials were perplexed. Lt. Joseph Hutchins, a spokesman for the Illinois State Police, said, “We’re trying to figure out how that happened.” Aurora Police Chief Ziman said, “He was not supposed to be in possession of a firearm.”
Of course not. That’s the assumption by anti-gun politicians: that people like Martin aren’t supposed to have a firearm, based on his previous felony conviction. They assume that people like Martin will always tell the truth. They assume further that, when notified that their permission slip has been revoked, they will simply roll over and play honest citizen, return that permission slip and dispose of the offending firearm.
WGN-TV has started investigating the matter, and asked a local criminal defense attorney, Michael Johnson, what happens next when someone like Martin gets such a letter in the mail. He said, “You’ve got to trust them.”
In its investigation, WGN-TV has already discovered that, in 2014 alone, more than 6,000 citizens had their FOID cards revoked. As of Monday, WGN- TV revealed that the total FOID revocations since then are over 48,000. The Chicago Tribune reported that, in 2016, roughly 11,000 people had their FOID cards revoked, but only about 4,000 had returned them along with proof that they had disposed of their firearms.
What’s needed, according to the editors at the Chicago Tribune, is more laws and more rigorous enforcement of them:
There’s the starting point for Illinois after Aurora: an intensive examination of gun laws and enforcement practices to try to prevent another shooting of this type. Regulations and enforcement rules need to be tightened to give police the authority and resources to track down people who may possess weapons they no longer are allowed to have.
Thus proving once again the validity of Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity: “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
The Wall Street Journal: Shooter at Illinois Factory Lied on Application for Gun Owner Card
The Chicago Tribune: Illinois State Police acknowledge it wrongly issued a gun license to Aurora shooter
WGNTV.com: How gunman in Aurora shooting got his gun
The Chicago Tribune: Editorial: After Aurora, Illinois has to tighten gun law enforcement