The gun law enforcement emergency

The gun law enforcement emergency

Another week, another mass shooting. This time in our backyard.

A convicted felon who shouldn’t have been allowed to possess a weapon brought a gun to his Aurora, IL  workplace and killed 5 people in the minutes after he was fired.

It looks like only part of the problem here is with gun regulations – somehow the shooter’s felony conviction went unnoticed when  he purchased the weapon. This could be the result of inadequate information in the background check database, or an insufficient waiting period to allow for a complete check. We don’t seem to have enough information to make that determination, flaws in the background check system are well known.

But we got a second chance when this felon later applied for a concealed carry permit. At that time the conviction did pop up, and FOID was revoked. According to an editorial in the Chicago Tribune, the next step would have been for the Illinois State Police to notify him by mail, but “[obviously, he either never got or ignored it. And no one took his gun away.”

Apparently, nobody tried to track down the illegally held weapon and confiscate it. As the Tribune reports (emphasis mine):

It appears that Illinois law — or follow-through — is weak. Mark Jones, a senior policy adviser the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence and a former federal law enforcement agent, told the Tribune over the weekend that state police typically don’t act beyond sending a letter when someone is found to have a gun he or she shouldn’t have  “They’re not funded to do anything more than that,” Jones said Regulations and enforcement rules need to be tightened to give police the authority and resources to track down people who may possess weapons they no longer are allowed to have..

Considering what we’ve seen in the past week, one approach to addressing this is obvious. Trump should declare a national gun emergency and redirect funds from other projects to provide the necessary resources for authorities to confiscate guns in situations like this.

This would be more effective at making us safer than building more border walls. But, as with Donnie’s border wall “emergency”, it would likely be unconstitutional. You can bet the NRA would also raise false concerns about “law abiding gun owners.”

But it certainly looks like the tragedy in Aurora could have been averted if law enforcement had the money to enforce existing gun laws.

  
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Featured image: John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune

Filed under: Gun Control, News

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