Half the battle with red-flag laws is convincing a state’s legislature to pass one. But that’s not the hard half. In fact, Illinois did pass an RFL several years ago.
The hard part is educating the public about the law and convincing them to use it.
Twice in 2019 police were called to the home of the degenerate who shot up the parade in Highland Park yesterday. In neither case was he arrested, local cops said today. And, evidently, in neither case was a restraining order to bar him from owning guns sought.
Law enforcement reveals that there was a Sept. 2019 incident in which Robert Crimo threatened to "kill everyone," police "removed 16 knives, a dagger and a sword from Crimo’s home" but there was "no probable cause for arrest" and no complaints were signed by the victims. pic.twitter.com/z9JplJy8H5
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) July 5, 2022
How could the police have seized 16 knives, a dagger, and a sword without finding probable cause for arrest? If no crime had been committed, on what grounds were the weapons taken away? The suspect was over 18 at the time so his parents couldn’t have surrendered them on his behalf. Did he choose to do so?
Here’s the key bit from Illinois’s red-flag statute:
A petitioner may request an emergency firearms restraining order by filing an affidavit or verified pleading alleging that the respondent poses an immediate and present danger of causing personal injury to himself, herself, or another by having in his or her custody or control, purchasing, possessing, or receiving a firearm. The petition shall also describe the type and location of any firearm or firearms presently believed by the petitioner to be possessed or controlled by the respondent.
I understand why friends and family members often don’t seek those restraining orders. For one thing, they might not know that the option exists. Most of the public deals with a dangerous person by calling 911 and letting the cops take it from there. But even a relative who’s aware of the red-flag system might shy away from it, not wanting to embroil a loved one in the judicial system and/or to do something as confrontational as trying to take away one of their legal rights. It’s a lot to ask of the public.
Which isn’t an excuse. People died yesterday because the suspect’s family didn’t pursue a restraining order against him when they could have.
But as it turns out, friends and family aren’t the only people authorized in Illinois to seek a red-flag order against a dangerous person. Quote:
(1) a family member of the respondent as defined in this Act; or
(2) a law enforcement officer, who files a petition alleging that the respondent poses a danger of causing personal injury to himself, herself, or another by having in his or her custody or control, purchasing, possessing, or receiving a firearm.
Local police were twice made aware in the span of less than a year that the suspect was a threat to himself or others. Even if you want to cut them a break for not seeking a gun restraining order after their first encounter with him, what’s their excuse for not seeking one after the second?
He had 16 knives, wanted to “kill everyone,” and had previously been suicidal. He was in the 18-21 age zone that’s become more common among mass shooters too. You would think red-flag orders in a situation like that would be standard police protocol at this point.
But wait. There’s more incompetence here:
According to Illinois police, it appears that Robert Crimo was able to legally purchase guns after having his knives taken away in 2019 because he didn’t have a FOID card to review or revoke AT THAT TIME. pic.twitter.com/AssesnZwAt
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) July 5, 2022
“FOID” stands for “Firearm Owners Identification,” which you’re required to obtain from the Illinois State Police in order to own a gun legally in Illinois. If I understand her correctly, she’s saying that applicants for a FOID aren’t checked by the ISP for any history of dangerous (but non-criminal) behavior prior to applying, even if that information is already known to state cops. The suspect’s “kill everyone” encounter with the cops didn’t matter after the fact.
Which seems sub-optimal if Illinois authorities are supposedly looking for evidence that a particular applicant is mentally unfit to wield a firearm.
I’ll leave you with this interview yesterday with the suspect’s uncle, who supposedly saw nothing amiss with his nephew. Twice the cops had to come to the home in the past, on one occasion collecting an array of knives, and there was no inkling that something might be amiss? Even when the kid went out and bought a rifle?
Highland Park shooter’s uncle, who lives in the same house with him, is interviewed about whether there were warning signs. pic.twitter.com/8ROH6eHra4
— Ron Filipkowski 🇺🇦 (@RonFilipkowski) July 5, 2022