ISP changes how clear and present danger reports impact FOID card applications after Highland Park

ByChuck Goudie and Barb Markoff, Christine Tressel and Ross Weidner via WLS logo
Tuesday, July 19, 2022
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Two weeks after the Highland Park parade shooting, Illinois State Police made an emergency rule change to how FOID card applications are processed.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Two weeks after the mass shooting at Highland Park's Independence Day parade, an emergency rule change is being put in place by the Illinois State Police and the governor's office to change how FOID applications are processed.

Director of the Illinois State Police Brendan Kelly said the aim of the new enforcement tool is to better prevent guns from landing in the hands of people who have previously threatened violence. Now, ISP officers will be able to consider historic clear and present danger filings from law enforcement when reviewing future FOID applications.

"It's simply allowing our officers to be able to get as much information as they can to be armed with that information to make an informed decision to be able to establish clear and present danger and revoke someone's FOID card or deny a FOID card and make sure that they don't have access to a firearm," Kelly told the I-Team.

Highland Park police said when Robert Crimo III opened fire from a downtown rooftop on the fourth of July, they had paperwork naming Crimo in their files in a "clear and present danger" report from September 2019. The report, which was submitted to the Illinois State Police, described how Crimo stated "he was going to kill everyone" in his home.

Authorities seized a dagger, samurai blade and 16 knives, but because then-teenager Crimo wasn't actively purchasing a gun at the time, nothing happened. Kelly said the information about the claims of violence was secondhand and Crimo told responding officers he did not plan on harming himself or others. Crimo also didn't have a firearm or a pending FOID application at the time.

Under state regulations at the time, the 2019 clear and present danger report naming Crimo wasn't a roadblock. Kelly said it's not clear if this rule change would have impacted whether Crimo was approved for a FOID card, but it could have allowed ISP officers to ask more questions about his application.

"I will tell you, it's not clear that that would have necessarily impacted the situation at Highland Park. It's not necessarily a guarantee that as a result of this change in the law, that that situation might have been a different outcome," Kelly said.

"Now the state police will look at something that may have happened two years earlier, three years earlier, four years earlier and make it clear they're entitled to do that when they make the decision about whether to deny or revoke a firearm," said ABC7 legal analyst Gil Soffer.

Executive Director for the Illinois State Rifle Association Richard Pearson said his organization may support tighter rules that could prevent guns from being in the wrong hands.

"As we look at this, we think that the clear and present danger complaints should be kept for at least five years. And we also think that they should reach back into a person's teenage years," Pearson told the I-Team.

He said the ISRA still wants to examine the actual language of the rule change, looking for legal due process for those whose gun rights will be taken.