Red Flag Laws Failed to Stop Highland Park Massacre

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. 

The Suspect’s Firearms

The police are not talking about an altercation they had with the suspect’s mother after they showed up with the SWAT team looking for her son. He was driving his mother’s borrowed car while he was arrested. A rifle was recovered both at the scene and from within the vehicle. More weapons were found in his apartment. All of the firearms were purchased legally. The suspect had a valid FOID card since 2020. The incident in which multiple weapons were removed from his home occurred in 2019. 

Police said that if he had applied for a FOID card in 2019, he may have been denied. But since there was no pending action against him, the case was closed without charges. Highland Park banned AR-15-style weapons and high-capacity magazines in 2013. The Supreme Court upheld the decision. The decision prevents those who live in the city from possessing the weapons but does not explicitly prevent individuals from bringing guns into the city or while they are passing through. 

As of now, a prior suicide attempt is not cause to deny someone a FOID card. The individual must be remanded to the care of a psychiatric facility by court order for that ban to go into effect. Further, the police were unable to charge Crimo with any violation after he threatened to kill everyone. Hence, there was nothing for the federal government to find and no indication that Crimo had a history of potential red flags.

Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney

David Freidberg represents the interests of those who are charged with crimes in the Chicago area. Call today at (312) 560-7100 to schedule an appointment and we can begin preparing your defense immediately.

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