Aurora shooter’s FOID card was revoked; gun never confiscated

AURORA, Ill. — The fired employee who fatally shot five people at an Aurora manufacturing facility had a handgun despite a criminal history that includes an aggravated assault conviction and dozens of arrests for domestic violence and traffic violations.

Aurora police on Saturday released new information about 45-year-old Gary Martin's troubled past. It exposes a glaring hole in gun laws meant to keep weapons out of the hands of potentially dangerous individuals.

Martin received an Illinois Firearm Owner's Identification (FOID) card in January 2014. Two months later, Martin purchased a .40-caliber Smith & Wesson handgun, apparently the same weapon used in Friday's shooting. That's despite a 1995 conviction in Mississippi for aggravated assault. Records indicate Martin served less than two years in prison.

"You don't need fingerprints to purchase a firearm," Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman said Saturday.

After receiving an FOID card in 2014, police said, Martin was fingerprinted when applying for a concealed carry permit. During the fingerprinting and background process, authorities discovered the 1995 aggravated assault conviction and revoked Martin's FOID card.

Procedure dictates Illinois State Police would have sent a letter to Martin notifying him that his FOID card was revoked. A copy of the letter should have also been sent to Aurora police, since that's where Martin was living. However, it appears neither Aurora nor state police attempted to confiscate Martin's gun.

An Illinois State Police spokesperson did not immediately respond to questions about confiscation; however, a 2017 Chicago Tribune article quoted an agency spokesperson as saying ISP doesn't have the manpower to go out and confiscate weapons.

Aurora's police chief said her department will investigate what action was taken after it received the notice about Martin's revoked FOID card.

The Tribune reports that in 2016, roughly 11,000 people had their FOID cards revoked — but only approximately 4,000 submitted the required reports stating what they did with their guns. It is a misdemeanor to not submit the report.

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