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  • Writer's pictureLucas Nava

State Senator DeWitte: "The tragedy in Highland Park might never have occurred"

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Illinois State Senator Don DeWitte (R-St. Charles) released a statement through his website Wednesday following the instatement of a new rule regarding FOID cards during a Joint Committee on Administrative Rules meeting on the same day.


“Today, I supported the new rule that strengthens the FOID card review process to prevent dangerous individuals from legally purchasing or possessing firearms," DeWitte said. "The Pritzker Administration’s purported review of the FOID card process following the Aurora shooting in 2019 failed to recognize this gap in the interpretation and application of clear-and-present-danger reports submitted to the ISP."


"Had the Pritzker Administration done what they said they were going to do, which was to review and make sure laws already on the books were being implemented more effectively, the tragedy in Highland Park might never have occurred," DeWitte continued.


During the JCAR meeting, the Illinois State Police faced grilling from Republican lawmakers following their argument that they were unable to deny a FOID card to the alleged Highland Park shooter. Robert Crimo III had successfully applied for a FOID card, allowing him to purchase firearms in 2019 only 3 months after a "clear and present danger" report was filed against him claiming that he had threatened to "kill everyone" in his house. Local law enforcement confiscated 16 knives, a dagger and a samurai blade from Crimo's residence, although all of the weapons were returned later that day and no arrest was made. Despite the Highland Park police forwarding the report to the ISP, the agency discarded it due to Crimo not having an active or pending FOID application at that time. The ISP defended itself by saying that rules at the time prevented it from properly acting. In the weeks after the Independence Day Highland Park shooting, the ISP instated a new rule stating that it will maintain "clear and present danger" reports regardless of the mentioned party's FOID status. The rule was allowed to stand during the JCAR meeting.


According to the rule's writing, a clear and present danger request is a mechanism used by local law enforcement officials and school administrators to report to Illinois State Police any individuals who, "if granted access to a firearm or ammunition, pose an actual, imminent threat of substantial bodily harm to themselves or others." The ISP can then either reject a submitted FOID card application from the suspected individual or revoke an active card.


The new emergency rule allows for the increased usage of "clear and present danger" reports, as well as the broadening of the report's definition, stating that "administrative rules have unnecessarily limited and complicated the ability of the Illinois State Police to consider Clear and Present Danger information over time."


"Physical or verbal behavior, such as violent, suicidal, or assaultive threats, actions, or other behavior" would qualify for a proper "clear and present danger" report, according to the rule.

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