Monday, September 26, 2022

Explainer: Should the red flag law stop the shooting of the parade?

CHICAGO ( Associated Press) — Days after a rooftop gunman killed seven people at a parade, attention turned to how the attacker obtained multiple guns and whether the law on Illinois’ books could have prevented the Independence Day massacre.

Illinois gun laws are generally praised by gun-control advocates as being tougher than in most states. But that didn’t stop Robert E. Cremo III from carrying out the attack in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park.

One focus is on the state’s so-called red-flag law, which aims to temporarily take guns out of people with potentially violent behavior. Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have such laws.

Here’s a look at Illinois’ red-flag and gun-licensing laws, and whether they could have been applied to crime:

What is the red flag law of Illinois?

The law, which took effect on January 1, 2019, to order judges to temporarily remove firearms from people deemed a danger to themselves or others by a judge, according to an interpretation of the law by the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority authorizes. a state agency.

The court order, called a firearm restraining order, also prohibits them from purchasing guns.

This law differs from domestic violence restraining orders and laws that mandate the reporting of certain behavior by certain professionals, such as teachers.

Illinois’ red flag law, as in many states, is a civil matter. It is meant to enforce within hours or days of someone threatening or displaying threatening behavior. It is not meant to be enforced as a result of an apparent offence.

Did Crimeo ever behave the way it takes to activate the law?

It appears that he did. But it’s not clear who knew about it and when, and whether law enforcement agencies took the behavior seriously.

Less than three years ago, police went to Cremo’s home after a call from a family member who said he threatened to “kill everyone,” according to Christopher Covelli, a spokesman for the Lake County Major Crime Task Force. Had been.

Police confiscated 16 knives, a dagger and a sword, but said there was no indication that he had a gun at the time in September 2019. Earlier, in April 2019, the police had also responded to the alleged suicide attempt by Cremo, Kovelli said.

Does this mean that Cremo bought the gun legally?

Yes. He legally purchased a Smith & Wesson M&P 15 semi-automatic rifle in Illinois within the past year.

The Illinois State Police, which issues gun owners’ licenses, said in a statement that the then 19-year-old Cremo applied for the license in December 2019. Applicants under the age of 21 need a parent or legal guardian to sponsor the application. His father sponsored him.

Sponsors must sign an affidavit that states that Sponsor will be “liable for any damages resulting from a minor applicant’s use of firearms or firearms ammunition.” The affidavit does not include any details on liability if the sponsor’s child uses a gun to commit a crime. It’s also unclear whether this obligation extends when the child turns 21, as Cremo did a year before the shooting.

State Police Director Brendan Kelly told reporters Wednesday that the father faces potential civil liability, and that the criminal conviction is under investigation. He said that the matter would eventually be decided in the court.

A Cremo family attorney, Steve Greenberg, told the Chicago Tribune that the father was not aware of the dangers when he helped his son with the application because his son lived with another relative at the time.

When asked whether the suspect’s parents could face any charges made by their son, Greenberg told the Associated Press that “there is no chance that they will be charged with any criminal charges.” will be imposed.” He added: “He didn’t do anything wrong.”

Did the Highland Park Police inform the state police about the threat?

they did. State police confirmed that Cremo had received warnings from Highland Park Police months before applying for his license. It’s not clear whether the state agency saw Highland Park’s report before granting the license.

A statement from the state police only said that there was “insufficient ground to establish a clear and present danger” for rejecting the application.

Under Illinois law, if Cremo had been convicted of a felony or had committed major mental health problems, he might not have received a license. He had no such record.

Is the law often enforced?

It appears to be used occasionally, although related records are sometimes sealed, so it is difficult to obtain a complete picture. Illinois law in 2021 included provisions to raise awareness of and use the state’s red-flag laws.

The Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority cites tracking conducted by an advocacy group, Speak for Safety Illinois, which reports that 34 firearm restraining orders were filed in 2019 and 19 in 2020. Most were provided.

DuPage County, a suburban Chicago county, is responsible for 12 filings each year, it said. And no other county, including Lake County, which includes Highland Park, filed more than two in those years.

The majority of filings were by law enforcement, with family members accounting for just five filings in 2019.

Who can request an order and how is the decision made?

A relative, roommate or law enforcement officer may make the request by filing an application with the local circuit court. In some cases, others may try to initiate the process by contacting the police.

Red-flag laws in some states allow doctors, teachers, and coworkers to file requests, while others limit filings to law enforcement only.

In Illinois, the burden of proving to a judge that a person is a significant threat falls on those filing the request. They can draw on a number of sources, including witness statements about violent behavior, drug abuse, police records or any threatening social media posts and emails.

If a judge favors the petitioner, the court issues a firearm restraining order, which allows law enforcement to immediately confiscate any firearm from a person deemed to be a threat and allow them to purchase guns and ammunition. prevents from

If they have one, they must also show their firearm owner’s ID.

What happens after the order is issued?

An emergency order can be issued on the same day and remains in effect for 14 days. The judge may rule on it without the presence of the subject of the request.

If an emergency order is issued, it is followed by a plenary hearing after which a judge will decide whether the six-month-long order is needed. The level of evidence in such hearings is high. The subjects of the hearing may argue before the judge why the order is not sought.

If an order of six months is issued, it cannot be extended easily. If the person who filed the initial request feels that the subject of the order is still in danger, another hearing should be held again with the same level of evidence.

Do red flag laws prevent violence?

According to the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, there is clear evidence that firearm restraining orders help prevent some suicides. It is less clear whether they prevent deadly acts of gun violence such as mass shootings. The agency says the reasons for such attacks are often too complex to make a clear connection.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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