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Articles Tagged with weapons charges in Chicago

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?

Under the law, police officers face the same consequences for committing crimes that the general public does. The issue that comes into play is the fact that police officers have more ability to manipulate the law to their advantage than the general public does. When they commit crimes, they understand how an investigation will unfold, they can cover their tracks, and they have the support of their brothers in blue to back them up.

Recently, an off-duty Chicago police officer was charged with discharging her weapon at Sam’s Club when a team of thieves attempted to swipe her SUV. She was in the parking lot with her husband when the theft occurred. The officer opened fire on the thieves and has since been charged with a crime: Reckless discharge of a weapon. Did she really commit a crime?

Analyzing the Charges

When you think of gun trafficking charges, you generally think of hit TV shows like The Sons of Anarchy. On the show, the bikers formed an uneasy alliance with the Irish Republican Army who manufactured guns for sale on American streets. The bikers made alliances with the cartel and were generally a mass distributor of weapons to criminal organizations. In other words, they dealt in quantity. While gun trafficking like this does occur, it is much more likely that weapons trafficking charges will take on a more modest form.

In one local case, four men were charged with the illegal sale of weapons on the streets to individual buyers. The guns were purchased at gun shows around the country, distributed to a St. Louis defendant who moved the guns into Chicago, where they were distributed to a street-level dealer who sold the guns on the black market. All of this is outside the regulatory framework of gun sales. That makes it illegal. However, it is much easier to pull off a scheme like this than it is to be responsible for managing international distribution over the ocean. Hence, it is much more common to see weapons trafficking charges take this form rather than criminal organizations acting as logistics to gun manufacturers. 

From the Street Level Up

Prosecutors have dropped felony charges against a suspect who was implicated in the shooting death of a 7-year-old girl and an injury to her 6-year-old sister. Prosecutors refused to pursue felony charges against one of the suspects citing the lack of evidence and the failure of one witness to cooperate. The witness is believed to be a relative of the girls and was in a dispute with one of the suspects. Without this witness’s testimony, the murder trial against at least one suspect will not move forward. Prosecutors also cited a lack of a confession or video evidence as a reason to drop the felony charges.

The outraged police officers threatened to ignore the prosecutors and try the case themselves. But the prosecutor said they would dismiss the case if the police took that route. To avoid a public battle between police and prosecutors, police backed down from their threats. The suspect is now being held on a minor parole violation. However, the felony charges against him related to the shooting are gone. 

The State Attorney’s Office issued a statement that said that prosecutors and police are now in accord with the handling of the case. Prosecutors reiterated that there was simply not enough evidence to bring the case to trial. The Chicago Police Department did not issue a comment when asked.

An Indiana man is in deep water after a gun he purchased in Indiana was used to shoot two Chicago police officers recently — one of them fatally. Police say that the semi-auto handgun was purchased in Indiana as part of a straw operation.

Essentially, felons skirt federal background check requirements by setting up straw buyers to purchase weapons on their behalf for a fee. The gun, however, remains registered in the name of the straw buyer. When that gun shows up on the streets after being used to injure one cop and kill another, you can bet that the police will come after the individual who purchased the gun illegally, placing it into the stream of commerce, with the result that one cop was fatally killed.

According to police, the defendant purchased the weapon at a federal firearms dealership in Indiana. Shortly thereafter, it was used in violent crimes against police.

Chicago PD announced a new team that will target straw purchasers for guns. Essentially, felons or others who would otherwise be prevented from applying for a gun permit pay someone else to perform the transaction for them. The straw buyer then gives the weapon to the felon who now has a gun. According to Chicago police, this is how a large number of weapons sold outside of Chicago end up on Chicago streets. 

The federal-local team will consist of Chicago P.D. and the ATF. Investigators are focusing on gun traffickers, straw purchasers, and unscrupulous gun store owners who do less than the legal requirement to ensure their buyers are legitimate.

Illegal Gun Sales at Legal Gun Stores

Three soldiers out of Fort Campbell have been charged with purchasing and selling weapons, some of which were used in violent homicides in Chicago, according to NPR. The three men are enlisted U.S. Army members from Fort Campbell which is home to the 101st Airborne Division. The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division and the ATF teamed up to make the arrests. 

The trio has been charged with a slew of crimes related to the illegal trafficking of weapons. These will be charged as federal crimes. These include transferring a firearm to an out-of-state resident, making false statements concerning the acquisition of a firearm, wire fraud, money laundering, and other charges related to the scheme. 

Prosecutors have identified the ring leader as 24-year-old Brandon Miller. Prosecutors have asked that Miller be denied bond as he allegedly poses a significant flight risk.

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