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Articles Posted in Weapons Charges

Police have elected not to press charges against a 17-year-old boy who accidentally shot and killed an 8-year-old boy while handling a gun. In cases like these, it is often the gun owner who faces charges for failing to properly secure the gun in a locked safe unloaded as the law requires. However, no one will face charges related to this incident. In some cases, the outcome of an event is tragic enough that the law does not see fit to punish those responsible further. In this case, the gun should not have been accessible to the 17-year-old, and it should not have been loaded. 

Is it Illegal to Improperly Store a Gun?

Yes, but the penalties for this crime are closer to a traffic violation than an actual crime. You can face a $10,000 penalty if a minor gains access to your gun and harms themselves or someone else. Generally speaking, you can also face civil penalties related to injuries suffered by a victim of an accidental gunshot wound.

A Chicago man is facing federal charges of unlawful possession of a weapon, unlawful possession of controlled substances, and the use of a weapon in the furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. The defendant was stopped on the CTA Green Line when the weapon and drugs were found. Since the defendant has a previous felony on his record, it is unlawful for him to possess a firearm. 

However, the grand jury announcement and arrest report fail to note how the police became aware that the man was in possession of a weapon. What probable cause did they have to search the man in the first place? At this point, it is completely unclear how police became aware that this particular individual was in possession of contraband and illegal weapons.

When this information is not provided in an indictment report, it is likely to become the subject of a probable cause hearing. Generally speaking, police have little cause to approach an individual aboard a train or in a station and demand that they subject themselves to a search. So chances are good here that the defendant has a functional probable cause defense. If he does not, then he is going to have to face these charges and likely be convicted. His freedom thus hinges on how the search was conducted and whether or not the police had probable cause to initiate the search.

In September of last year, Chicago police announced they were “going after the gangs” in an apparent bid to reduce crime. However, it is now a year later and the number of shootings and gang-related violence has yet to dwindle. Police Superintendent David Brown said that he wanted it well known, the Chicago police will be going after the gangs. He also mentioned that they would be doing it Constitutionally and without violating anyone’s rights. 

Gang violence remains a major problem in Chicago and across the U.S. with gangs handling drug and weapons trafficking and becoming involved in an increasing number of identity thefts. Police struggle to keep up with the problem largely because they have lost control of the territories they patrol. This is not a new phenomenon. The birth of gangs in the U.S. relates to under-policing in certain districts. Instead of paying police for protection out of your tax dollars, you pay gangs for protection. The gangs identify and eliminate potential threats to the community. However, remaining solvent over the years has proven troublesome and the public does not trust the police enough to protect them if they provide information. In terms of hearts and minds, police have lost that battle largely due to abuses committed over the years by Chicago police officers who would have been happier operating out of gangs than within law enforcement. The following are some of the structural problems that allow gangs to thrive in cities.

Hearts and Minds

With problems concerning “progressive prosecutors” now a major wedge issue in the political arena, you should expect to hear about the weekly number of shootings and murders in Chicago regularly. Are we really that bad, though? What about NYC and Los Angeles? How many people got killed there over the weekend? 

Before we answer that question, it is important to understand that Chicago has its own unique problems and these comparisons are never as useful as they seem. However, it appears that Chicago will win the Labor Day contest as to which city contributed the most casualties to the weekend. In most cases, these attacks will be targeted and gang-related. In some cases, stray bullets will hit unintended targets. In other cases, disputes erupt in public that are solved with bullets. 

How are Other Cities Doing With Gun Violence?

Illinois makes it illegal to own automatic weapons in the state. While in other states, you can own certain classes of automatic weapons, Illinois is not among the states that allow such a weapon within its borders. Further, you cannot take a handgun and then refurbish it to fire multiple rounds with a single trigger pull. Lastly, you cannot own a weapon if you have been convicted of certain felonies. 

Now, one man is accused of breaking all three laws after selling a modified Glock to an informant. He has been charged with unlawful possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, modifying a Glock, and illegal possession of a weapon in the State of Illinois. 

To be certain, a modified Glock capable of shooting multiple rounds with a single trigger depression is not legal anywhere in the United States, including Texas where automatic weapons can be owned and purchased so long as they meet specific criteria. 

ShotSpotter is a technology that aims at reporting gunshots to police officers (Was ShotSpotter involved in the death of Adam Toledo?) However, the technology has been manipulated by ShotSpotter employees to help cops leverage probable cause in cases where they would not otherwise have it. In fact, this constitutes a fraud on the public, the defendant, the court, and society at large. Rather than release documents during a trial, a ShotSpotter spokesperson took the unusual measure of asking the court to hold the company in contempt rather than release documents that would show that the company perpetrated a fraud against the citizens of Chicago. 

What is ShotSpotter and How Does it Work?

Ostensibly, ShotSpotter technology places audio devices around the city which then trigger alarms if they hear a noise that is loud, like a gunshot. The report could give police probable cause to stop individuals in the area. However, evidence has shown that shot spotter employees manipulated reports ex post facto to establish that a gunshot came from a specific location in order to give police probable cause to initiate detentions. 

As more becomes known about the Highland Park massacre, the ability of the shooter, Robert E. Crimo III, to legally purchase an AR-15-style weapon is under intense scrutiny. Police say that there were two red flags with Crimo, but none of them made it to the attention of federal authorities who handle FOID card applications. Crimo was legally able to purchase the weapon in the Chicago area.

Family members say that they had no warning of the attack. Authorities say that Crimo was the recipient of mental health services after a failed suicide attempt. Afterward, the police removed several knives and a sword from Crimo’s apartment after he threatened to “kill everyone.” Neither of these triggered an arrest giving authorities no good reason for denying Crimo the FOID card. Now, many are wondering what more could have been done to stop the senseless attack on the July 4th parade. 

Crimo has been charged with seven counts of first-degree murder. While Illinois does not have the death penalty, the federal government could opt into the prosecution to pursue the death penalty against the defendant. It remains unclear if terrorism charges will be filed, but it not typical for American citizens to be charged with terrorism. That may change as more mass shootings for political reasons plague the nation. 

Here’s the story. The police showed up at a woman’s house claiming that someone had called in saying she discharged a weapon inside of her home. They found a .22 caliber single-shot Remington rifle on the property and promptly charged her for possessing a weapon without a FOID card. The weapon had not been discharged, and witnesses at the apartment complex said they did not hear a gunshot. It turned out that the call was made by an estranged ex who wanted to engineer a criminal prosecution against the defendant.

The defendant argued that Illinois’ FOID Law was unconstitutional. The circuit court agreed and vacated her prosecution. However, the Supreme Court was asked to rule on the Constitutionality of Illinois’ FOID card law and would not rule that it was unconstitutional. The prosecution may be remanded back to the circuit court leaving the prosecution unclear under the law. Below, we will discuss the law and why it may be unconstitutional.

Is Illinois’ FOID Card Law Constitutional?

The pandemic has actually increased the overall number of shootings in Chicago, but our numbers are still going down from where they were last year and the year before. This year, we had 254 shootings in May whereas 2021 and 2020 showed numbers well above 300 shootings. The last year we posted a number lower than 200 was 2019, before the pandemic began. 

Despite showing signs of slowing, the numbers are not where law enforcement hoped they would be and there is concern over what the summer could hold. Chicago, with the help of federal law enforcement and Project Safe Neighborhoods, has been attempting to get guns off the street and reduce the overall amount of gun violence in the city. However, even as more and more gun busts are being reported, there has only been a marginal dip in the overall number of shootings and murders. 

What is Working and What is Not

A Chicago-area father is facing weapons charges after his 3-year-old son shot and killed his own mother while playing with the weapon in the back seat. The father is now facing a misdemeanor gun charge. The mother was brought to the hospital where she was pronounced dead. The child has been offered trauma counseling services that he will likely need for the rest of his life.

Meanwhile, the father is facing a misdemeanor charge of unlawfully transporting a weapon. The father had a license for the gun, but transporting it in the backseat of your vehicle while your 3-year-old is back there is considered a crime. 

Accidental shootings involving children are now a major problem across the United States. Since 2015, over 2,000 individuals have been accidentally shot by children. 90% of those individuals were other children with about 70% of the shootings happening in the home. The pandemic and quarantine made the situation worse, with accidental shootings rising over that period. 

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