SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – As families in Aurora, Illinois and the surrounding communities continue mourning the senseless loss of five lives during a February mass shooting at Henry Pratt Co., state Rep. Karina Villa, D-West Chicago, is working across the aisle to pass comprehensive gun licensing reform.
“My heart breaks for the families in my community who lost parents and children, spouses and siblings, because an individual with a clear history of violence was approved for an Illinois FOID card and allowed to legally purchase a gun,” Villa said. “Even after law enforcement discovered this man’s criminal record and ordered him to turn in his firearms years ago, there was inadequate enforcement when he failed to hand over a weapon that the Illinois State Police knew he’d purchased. This is absolutely unacceptable. We need to ensure law enforcement has the resources they need to confiscate illegal guns so this deadly mistake never happens again.”
The “Fix the FOID Act” would require FOID card applicants to submit their fingerprints and undergo universal background checks for all firearm purchases and transfers. Currently, only individuals applying for concealed carry permits are fingerprinted, a process which increases law enforcement’s ability to discover out-of-state convictions. In fact, the Illinois State Police only discovered that the Aurora shooter had a violent criminal record dating back to 1995 when he applied for a concealed carry permit after being awarded a FOID card just months before.
Under the Act, FOID cards must be renewed every five years in contrast to the current requirement of just one renewal per decade. Application fees are increased to support mental health programming and state police efforts to revoke illegally possessed firearms. Additionally, this legislation requires coordination between the Illinois State Police and local law enforcement to ensure that individuals who’ve had their FOID cards revoked surrender their guns.
“As gun violence continues to plague our state and nation, we are proud advocates of the Fix the FOID Act that would prohibit people with violent criminal histories from buying guns,” said Kathleen Sances, president and CEO of the Illinois Gun Violence Prevention PAC (G-PAC). “We stand by Karina Villa and more than 170 organizations who have joined a coalition to put a stop to preventable tragedies, like the recent shooting in Aurora, Illinois.”