Aurora shooter lied to get FOID card, but questions remain about how he kept gun

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A sign on the front door of the Henry Pratt Company office shows that guns are not allowed in the building in Aurora. | Scott Olson/Getty Images

The man whose rampage at an Aurora factory left five dead and six wounded lied years ago about his criminal background when he applied for a Firearm Owner’s Identification card, according to information released by the Illinois State Police.

Still, key questions remained Monday after the state police issued a two-page report about Gary Martin’s ability to purchase and keep a handgun in Illinois despite a 1995 aggravated assault conviction in Mississippi.

Chief among them is whether the state police notified local law enforcement that Martin’s FOID card had been revoked in 2014 after his conviction was discovered.

A spokesman for the Aurora Police Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment. However, Kane County Sheriff Ron Hain told the Sun-Times his department could find no record that it had been notified of Martin’s revocation.

“We couldn’t find anything for Gary Martin in our house,” said Hain, who took office last December.

Hain said his department only appeared to receive notifications for unincorporated areas of the county, though. Martin lived in Aurora.

Gary Martin | Aurora police photo

Gary Martin | Aurora police photo

The report from the state police said that, in 2014, the agency’s procedure “was to notify local law enforcement where the FOID card holder resides” using a law-enforcement data system. However, a state police spokesman said the agency was still trying to determine if the notification occurred.

Following the revocation, Martin would have been required to surrender his FOID card and fill out a document explaining the disposition of his weapon. The local law enforcement officials handling the report would have then been required to send it the state police. If Martin failed to file the report, police could have gone to court for a search warrant.

However, the state police said, “Illinois law does not require them to do so.”

The state police said it could find no Firearm Disposition Record for Martin, though it was still reviewing its files. The agency said it does not receive those records “in most instances.”

The agency’s report also offered new detail about Martin’s firearm history. It said the state police received a FOID card application from Martin on Jan. 17, 2014. On the application, Martin allegedly answered “no” when he was asked, “have you ever been convicted of a felony?”

A record search then produced Martin’s criminal history only in Illinois, according to the report. No “prohibiting factors” were found, it said, and Martin’s FOID card was approved Jan. 31, 2014.

Martin then cleared a background check on March 6, 2014, after he sought to purchase a handgun, according to the report.

Then, on March 16, 2014, the state police said it received a Firearm Concealed Carry License application from Martin — and the report notes a key difference between that application and the FOID application.

Unlike FOID applicants, Concealed Carry applicants may submit fingerprints and reduce processing time from 120 days to 90 days, according to the state police. Martin submitted his fingerprints, which helped authorities discover his Mississippi conviction.

The state police said Martin’s Concealed Carry application was denied on March 26, 2014. His FOID card was revoked on April 17, 2014.

On Friday, Martin used his Smith & Wesson handgun to kill Trevor Wehner, Clayton Parks, Josh Pinkard, Russell Beyer and Vicente Juarez at the Henry Pratt Company in Aurora. Martin began shooting as a manager told him he was being let go after 15 years with the company, authorities said.

Five police officers and one additional employee were also wounded in the attack.

SWAT team officers shot and killed Martin after he fired at them, officials said.

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