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The suspect in the country's latest mass shooting bought several guns legally despite a history of concerning behavior and run-ins with police, and many are questioning why Illinois's gun safety laws didn't prevent him from doing so.
21-year-old Robert Crimo, who was charged with seven counts of first-degree murder in the Highland Park, Illinois Fourth of July shooting, passed four background checks and bought five guns in the past two years. In 2019, police were notified on two separate occasions that Crimo had threatened to harm himself or his family members, and they confiscated knives from his home.
Months later, Crimo successfully obtained an Illinois state Firearm Owners Identification card (FOID). Police said that at the time, "there was insufficient basis to establish a clear and present danger and deny the FOID application."
Crimo's history has led to scrutiny of red flag laws in Illinois and elsewhere, especially since the recent bipartisan gun safety legislation includes incentives for states to adopt these laws. The laws allow certain people to notify a court that someone poses a danger to themselves or others, at which point the court may temporarily confiscate the person's firearms.
The shooting, the victims, Crimo's history and the efficacy of red flag laws were a top story from news sources across the political spectrum this week.
Many right-rated voices argued that the shooting shows that red flag laws and other gun control measures don't work. Some right-rated voices also criticized Crimo's family for allowing him to obtain a FOID card and guns. Some left-rated voices cited the shooting as more evidence that an assault weapons ban is necessary.
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Snippets from the Center
How Robert Crimo legally bought his guns
"Though FOID card co-signers are 'liable for any damages resulting from the minor applicant's use of firearms,' Crimo turned 21 nine months before the attack, theoretically ending his father's criminal liability. Also, the elder Crimo's attorney told the Tribune his client was unaware of the September 2019 incident when he co-signed the application...ISP tells Axios that Crimo's father actually got the knives back by saying they 'were his and they were being stored in the [son's] closet for safekeeping.'"
After Highland Park Shooting, Illinois Officials Call for More Use of Red-Flag Law
Wall Street Journal
"Authorities in Illinois, which has nearly 13 million people, used the law 37 times to seize firearms in 2021, according to state data analyzed by The Wall Street Journal. That is down from 51 times in 2020. Florida authorities used their state’s red-flag law 2,355 times to remove guns in 2020, while California and New York used their laws 984 and 255 times respectively that year, the Journal found."
Snippets from the Right
Highland Park shooting heightens pressure on Biden to confront crime
"President Joe Biden returned to the White House on Independence Day only to be confronted by another mass shooting before an expected summer of violence ahead of November's midterm elections. While Democrats hope to fight the fall campaign on issues such as the Supreme Court's decision regarding abortion, the economy and crime are likely to dominate."
When Gun Laws Don’t Prevent Gun Crime
National Review (opinion)
"A red-flag law? Illinois already has one. A permitting system for the purchase and ownership of guns? Illinois has that, too. “Universal” background checks? That’s already Illinois law. What about “assault weapons” and “high-capacity” magazines? Highland Park has banned both since 2013. Concealed carry? That was prohibited at the parade under an Illinois law that renders it illegal to carry firearms at 'any public gathering held pursuant to a license issued by any governmental body.'"
Snippets from the Left
Memorials grow as Highland Park community remembers the victims of July 4 parade mass shooting
"The firearm believed to have been used in the shooting was recovered near the scene, but Crimo had another gun in his vehicle during his arrest, police said. The other weapon was a Kel-Tec rifle, Covelli said Wednesday. Crimo had approximately 60 rounds of ammunition in his car at the time, Covelli added."
Again, Americans are killed by a weapon of war. A ban must be on the table.
Washington Post (opinion)
"Once again, an angry young man with a high-powered rifle wreaks bloody havoc on an American community. Once again, heartbroken families must plan funerals for loved ones. Once again, something so simple — like going to church or attending school and now watching a parade — is added to the pleasures of life that can no longer be taken for granted. And once again, we must ask why we allow this madness to continue."