Pritzker touts emergency rule change to give State Police ‘fuller picture’ of FOID card applicants’ history

Deemed a “first step” by gun control advocates, the new emergency rule is designed to allow State Police to consider a larger range of information in the definition of clear and present danger and clarify the agency’s authority to use the reports.

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Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks to reporters on July 4 about the mass shooting that happened earlier that day at the Fourth of July parade in Highland Park.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks to reporters on July 4 about the mass shooting that happened earlier that day at the Fourth of July parade in Highland Park.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Time file

Illinois State Police on Monday submitted an emergency rule to allow for broader use of “clear and present danger” reports — aimed at barring applicants from receiving a firearm owner’s identification card or revoking a current card for those who exhibit violent or suicidal behavior.

It’s an effort by Gov. J.B. Pritzker and the Illinois State Police to close a loophole two weeks after Robert E. Crimo III was charged with killing seven people at the Fourth of July Highland Park parade.

Crimo was able to get a FOID card and buy multiple guns, despite two separate 2019 incidents in which he allegedly threatened to harm himself and his family.

After the suspect was charged earlier this month, State Police Director Brendan Kelly said there had been “insufficient basis” to deny Crimo’s request for a FOID card — with family members denying his threats and no domestic violence order or court order restraining him from having a gun.

Deemed a “first step” by gun control advocates, the new emergency rule is designed to allow State Police to consider a larger range of information in the definition of clear and present danger and clarify the agency’s authority to use the reports.

Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly speaks during a news conference in the Gresham neighborhood in May.

Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly speaks during a news conference in the Gresham neighborhood in May.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times file

Illinois’ rule change comes as states such as New York and New Jersey tighten gun legislation in light of mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, New York. States are also creating a patchwork of legislation in response to the Supreme Court decision that dismantled New York’s state law that placed restrictions on carrying handguns.

Illinois State Police, under the direction of Pritzker, submitted the emergency rule change to the Illinois secretary of state’s office, which will implement “broader use” of the reports that can bar applicants from receiving a FOID card or revoke a current FOID card, state police said.

Pritzker, in a statement, said the rule change will allow State Police to “see a fuller picture of an applicant’s history and keep the people of Illinois safe from those who should not be in possession of firearms.”

State Police said administrative rules had “limited and complicated” their ability to consider clear and present danger information over time. The former administrative rule required a clear and present danger to be “impending,” “imminent,” “substantial” or “significant.”

Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks to reporters in Highland Park on July 4.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks to reporters in Highland Park on July 4.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Time file

Under state law, clear and present danger is defined as involving “physical or verbal behavior, such as violent, suicidal, or assaultive threats, actions, or other behavior.” The emergency rule will allow State Police to consider a larger range of information by applying the statutory definition of clear and present danger. The rules also clarify State Police’s authority to use and retain clear and present danger reports to the fullest extent allowed by state and federal law.

Emergency rules go into effect within 10 days of filing but remain in effect for no more than 150 days. But State Police want to make those changes permanent.

Back in June, Pritzker said he would call legislators back to Springfield for a special session to “further enshrine” reproductive protections in light of the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. But a day after the Highland Park shooting, Pritzker and Democratic leaders pushed back the proposed timetable for the session, saying they’d be back “in the coming months.”

Immediately after the shooting, Pritzker’s office began looking at everything from training and education about the Firearm Restraining Order, or the “Red Flag” law, designed to keep guns away from those deemed a danger to themselves or others to putting into state statute the amount of time a “clear and present danger” file should be kept, even if it’s ruled to be unfounded.

The Gun Violence Prevention Political Action Committee on Monday applauded the emergency rule but called it a “first step.” The group is urging Pritzker to take immediate action to ban assault weapons and high capacity magazines. Pritzker has already voiced support for both efforts.

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