The Aurora Police Department says it has found no record it was alerted to the 2014 revocation of the Firearm Owner’s Identification card held by the man who went on to kill five and wound six in Friday’s mass shooting in the western suburb.
The Police Department made its comment in a social media post Tuesday afternoon, about 24 hours after the Illinois 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.
The state police said Martin’s FOID was revoked in April 2014, and it said its procedure at the time “was to notify local law enforcement where the FOID card holder resides.” A state police spokesman could not confirm that the notification took place, though.
Nor could Aurora police officials.
“Our records have not confirmed notification of a FOID card revocation or the recovery of firearms from the named subject in 2014 or any time since,” Aurora police said in its statement Tuesday.
The post continued, “if an agency is made aware of a FOID card revocation, the agency may seek to petition the court for the FOID card and any firearms; however, having a revoked FOID card alone is not sufficient grounds to search a person or their home.”
Kane County Sheriff Ron Hain also said his department could not find a record that it had been notified of Martin’s FOID revocation.
Meanwhile, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Tuesday that his administration will push for legislation to tighten enforcement of the state’s gun laws.
“We need to make sure that we’re addressing that,” Pritzker said at a news conference following a bill-signing ceremony. “My entire team is focused on it and has been all weekend and through today, and we’re going to make sure to make proposals that will tighten the rules around revocation of FOID cards.”
State Sen. Julie Morrison, D-Deerfield, is the lead sponsor of a bill introduced earlier in the session, Senate Bill 1145, that would authorize the Department of Public Health to levy fines and other sanctions on public mental health facilities if they fail to report the names of patients who are diagnosed with disorders that disqualify them from owning guns, a problem that she said has been occurring in the court system when criminal defendants are sent for mental evaluation.
But she said that bill could easily be expanded to include additional kinds of enforcement mechanisms.
In a separate statement earlier Tuesday, Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman gave an emotional recounting of how the shooting impacted her and her city.
“It’s been roughly 96 hours since a disgruntled employee who was being terminated killed 5 people and shot 5 police officers at the Henry Pratt factory. I said his name one time for the media, and I will never let it cross my lips again.
“… This wasn’t supposed to happen in our city. That evil soul shouldn’t have taken others down because he was angry. He shouldn’t have even had a weapon. Lives shouldn’t have been stolen.”
Her statement came as Martin’s family apologized for the havoc he caused.
His cousin Jesseca Clemons, told The Aurora Beacon-News her family “would like to send our deepest apologies to all the victims’ families, friends and loved ones.” She says her family is “praying for everyone” and asks for prayers as well.
Clemons said Martin’s mother is grieving for her son and is asking everyone to “find it in their hearts to find forgiveness” so her family and others can move forward.
The report from the state police Monday detailed Martin’s firearm history in Illinois. 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 Co. 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.
Contributing: AP, Capitol News Illinois