HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. — WGN Investigates has an update on the loophole that allowed the alleged Highland Park shooter to get a gun permit despite previous concerns about his state of mind.
On Monday, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker issued an emergency rule change that would allow state police to reject FOID card applications in similar circumstances. While too late for the seven people who died in Highland Park and the others still battling injury, a forthcoming change in the rules may have stopped the alleged shooter from legally obtaining his weapons.
Director of Illinois State Police Brendan Kelly told WGN Investigates on July 6: “If you look at the law on ‘clear and present danger’ – that did not meet that threshold.”
As WGN Investigates reported in the days after the Highland Park shooting, an abundance of red flags didn’t stop state police from green lighting a Firearms Owner Identification (FOID) card for the suspect.
In 2019, police reports indicated the alleged shooter, who “attempted to commit suicide by machete” and had “a history of drug use,” admitted to being depressed and threatened to “kill everyone.”
Authorities never charged him with the threat, but Highland Park police filed what’s known as a clear and present danger form.
Nonetheless, Illinois State Police gave him a gun permit months later, claiming a “previous report” didn’t constitute a “current” threat.”
Pritzker is now issuing an emergency change to the rules defining who poses a “clear and present danger.”
The high-ranking state official is adding “physical or verbal behavior, such as violent, suicidal, or assaultive threats, actions, or other behavior” to the list of reasons a FOID card can be denied.
The new rules that define a “clear and present danger” will go into effect in 10 days, but the governor needs legislative action to have them remain in effect beyond five months.