Illinois State Police announced Wednesday that it has forced nearly 300 people in southern Illinois to give up ownership of their firearms after they had their firearms rights revoked.
As part of a “firearms enforcement blitz” from June 16 to July 31 in 41 southern Illinois counties, including St. Clair, Madison, Monroe, Clinton and Randolph counties, state police officers performed 710 “compliance checks,” which resulted in 295 people being “placed into compliance” with the state’s Firearms Owners Identification Card, or FOID card, law.
Illinois State Police said those placed in compliance had to do the following:
— Surrender their FOID card.
— Transfer all firearms out of their possession.
— Complete a firearms disposition record to detail the guns involved.
“The enforcement details are designed to ensure those who have had their firearm rights revoked are in compliance with the Firearms Owners Identification Card (FOID) Act,” the agency said in a news release.
The enforcement details were conducted in all of the state’s 102 counties, ISP said in the release. Statewide, 1,027 people were placed into compliance with the FOID law.
“Compliance checks are not about confiscating guns, but about ensuring individuals who have lost their firearms rights to transfer their firearms to law enforcement or someone who is legally able to possess them,” Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly said during a news conference at the state police’s metro-east headquarters in Collinsville.
“Illinois and the nation continue to confront how we as a society can prevent gun violence and there is no one answer or one action that any singular entity can take that will end this violence.”
But he noted it takes “many” groups working together to make a difference while respecting a person’s rights under the Second Amendment.
“Ensuring those who pose a significant threat to themselves or others do not have access to firearms is not something law enforcement can do on its own,” Kelly said.
He said medical professionals, school administrators and family members can contact law enforcement if they are concerned about someone they believe should not have access to guns.
“It is often the people who interact with a person on a daily basis that notice threatening behavior,” Kelly said. “If you see something, say something.”
The FOID law actually requires law enforcement officials and school administrators to report to the Illinois State Police when “a student or other person is determined to pose a clear and present danger to themselves or others,” according to ISP.
Kelly said there are about 2.4 million people with FOID cards in Illinois and that the state revoked about 20,000 cards in 2021.
East St. Louis Police Chief Kendall Perry joined Kelly in the news conference and he praised the crackdown on FOID card violators.
Are new rules and laws needed?
The Illinois State Police has received temporary permission from state officials for an emergency rule change to broaden the use of “clear and present danger reports” that can bar Illinois citizens from getting a FOID card or cause a revocation of a FOID card, according to a news release by Gov. J.B. Pritzker.
This decision was announced after the July 4th mass shooting in Highland Park, Illinois, where seven people were killed. The suspect in this case had received a FOID card after a clear and present danger report previously had been filed on him.
“The former administrative rule required a clear and present danger to be ‘impending,’ ‘imminent,’ ‘substantial’ or ‘significant,’ according to the governor’s news release. “Clear and present danger under state law however is more broadly defined requiring ‘physical or verbal behavior, such as violent, suicidal, or assaultive threats, actions, or other behavior…'”
Pritzker said the state will seek to make this rule change permanent.
Kelly said Wednesday if state lawmakers consider new gun control laws, his agency would give the legislators information requested, which could be the type of weapons are used in crimes or the firing capacity of guns
“It’s the role of the Illinois State Police to provide facts, to provide our subject matter expertise,” he said. “We are not a political entity.”
“It will be up to them, obviously, to reach whatever consensus is appropriate for the state,” Kelly said.
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