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CHICAGO TRIBUNE May 23, 2019 - As many as 30,000 guns may still be in the possession of Illinois residents deemed too dangerous to have them, according to a Tribune investigation.
In an analysis of data released for the first time, the Tribune found the state has repeatedly failed to ensure that people surrender their weapons and gun permits after their Firearm Owner’s Identification cards are revoked, resulting in the breakdown of a system put in place to deter gun violence.
In all, nearly 27,000 Illinois residents over the past four years have not informed authorities what they did with their guns after state police stripped their licenses, according to the analysis. That means law enforcement has no idea whether 78% of revoked cardholders since 2015 still possess guns.
The uncertainty has created a public safety risk that has been compounded for decades by antiquated policies and limited law-enforcement resources.
Among those with dismal compliance rates are residents convicted of domestic violence or people who had their cards rescinded because of mental health concerns, the Tribune analysis shows.
About 3 out of 4 such revokees failed to tell the state where their weapons are, despite making a combined 5,000 serious inquiries about purchasing guns before the revocation.
The broken system was exposed in February, when a disgruntled employee opened fire at the Henry Pratt Co. warehouse in Aurora, killing five co-workers and wounding five officers before dying in a shootout with police. The gunman, a convicted felon named Gary Martin, had his FOID card revoked in 2014 but was never forced to relinquish the Smith & Wesson handgun he used in the shooting.
The Tribune’s analysis of closely held Illinois State Police data — including how often each rescinded cardholder had made a serious inquiry about purchasing a gun — shows that the failure by state and local authorities to follow up on the revocations and account for firearms is widespread and happening in every county in Illinois. [Read More]
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