Lawmakers on the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) heard testimony on a new rule from the Illinois State Police (ISP) changing how the Administration requires the agency to handle “clear and present danger” reports when an individual applies for a Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card. The rule was proposed in response to the July 4th shooting in Highland Park, in which the suspect climbed onto a rooftop along a crowded parade route and fired shots into the people gathered below, killing seven and wounding dozens more.
The suspect in that shooting was able to obtain a FOID card and legally purchase firearms, despite the fact that Highland Police had filed a “clear and present danger” report with the state just months prior, alleging that the man had threatened members of his family and had threatened to commit suicide.
The Pritzker Administration says that its previous administrative rule had required the ISP to discard “clear and present danger” reports if there was no pending or active FOID card on record for the individual at that time. Following a 2019 shooting in Aurora, Governor JB Pritzker had announced that his Administration was going to review existing rules and procedures to make sure that dangerous individuals were not able to obtain firearms. However, no changes were proposed to the “clear and present danger” process between then and the Highland Park shooting.
Senator Sue Rezin said that if the Pritzker Administration’s rules had been updated before the shooting, it could have prevented the suspect from obtaining and purchasing firearms.
The new emergency rule, which received no objection by the members of JCAR and will remain in place for the 150-day limit, requires the ISP to keep all “clear and present danger” reports on file, regardless of whether the individual has a pending or active FOID card at the time.
Sen. Rezin also says that more work is needed by the Governor and his Administration to clear up the other gaps found in their rules so that current law can be enforced to its fullest extent and so that going forward, dangerous people can be stopped from being issued a FOID card.