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Local

Illinois State Police stepping up gun enforcement efforts in light of Henry Pratt shooting

Director pushing for fingerprinting, background checks for gun owners

As the one-year anniversary of the Henry Pratt shooting approaches, Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly said his department is committed to preventing such a tragedy from happening again.
As the one-year anniversary of the Henry Pratt shooting approaches, Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly said his department is committed to preventing such a tragedy from happening again.

On Feb. 15, 2019, Gary Martin shot and killed five of his co-workers at the Henry Pratt company in Aurora with a Smith and Wesson 40 caliber handgun he purchased from a dealer in 2014.

Martin should not have been able to own a gun. He was turned down for a concealed carry permit and his Illinois FOID card was revoked that year after it was discovered he had a 1995 felony conviction for aggravated assault out of Mississippi.

As the one-year anniversary of the Henry Pratt shooting approaches, Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly said his department is committed to preventing such a tragedy from happening again.

"As has often been the case since the decades that the FOID law has been in existence, the disposition of any illegally possessed firearms was not determined by any level of law enforcement," Kelly said during a press briefing on Thursday at the state Capitol in Springfield.

In the past year, the Illinois State Police has created a web portal that informs law enforcement agencies when a a FOID card has been revoked. The portal is accessible by any criminal justice agency at any time, he said.

More than 600 departments and criminal justice agencies have signed up for access to the portal, Kelly said.

"Because a form letter sent only at the time of revocation is not enough, we committed to sharing FOID revocation data with any law enforcement agency at any time," Kelly said.

The Illinois State Police also is committed to providing greater detail about the revocations "so law enforcement can prioritize threats," he said.

Since the creation of the portal, Kelly said there have been more than 13,000 inquiries on the web portal. In addition, he said the agency has stepped up efforts to take weapons away from those banned from legally possessing them.

"And enforcement has improved," Kelly said. "Since May 2019, the Illinois State Police Division of of Criminal Investigation, using gun liaison officers and firearm investigative units, have conducted more than 200 FOID revocation enforcement details all across the state."

However, Kelly said that more needs to be done. He is pushing for the passage of Senate Bill 1966, which would mandate fingerprinting and background checks for card holders.

"It's common sense that fingerprints catch bad guys," he said.

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