Weapon conviction brings jail, probation

URBANA — A Bellwood man convicted by a jury of having a gun has been sentenced to probation and jail.

A Champaign County jury in December convicted Jimmy Thomas, 24, of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon in connection with his arrest on Feb. 21, 2012, by Urbana police.

Assistant State's Attorney Dan Clifton said investigators wanted to talk to witnesses in connection with a shooting that had occurred in November 2012 at a house on South Lincoln Avenue in Urbana. They went to an apartment at 2001 Moreland Boulevard in Champaign to find them and saw two men coming out an apartment through a window.

Police quickly caught Thomas. An officer saw him drop a loaded .40-caliber Ruger pistol as he ran.

The gun was sent to the state crime lab, where it was determined not to have been used in the South Lincoln Avenue shooting.

He was charged with aggravated unlawful use of weapons, a Class 4 felony, for having a gun on his person in public.

Clifton said at the time of Thomas' arrest, he was on first offender probation in DuPage County for possession of a controlled substance.

Judge Heidi Ladd sentenced Thomas to 18 months of probation and 90 days in the county jail.

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Sid Saltfork wrote on January 25, 2013 at 11:01 am

He was already on probation.  How about using the existing gun laws, and sending a message to those with illegal guns?  I am for reasonable gun control; but this is an affront to legal FOID card holders.  This only provides fodder for those against reasonable gun control.

SaintClarence27 wrote on January 25, 2013 at 12:01 pm

Aren't they using the existing gun laws to send a message to those with illegal guns in this case?

Sid Saltfork wrote on January 25, 2013 at 12:01 pm

90 days in jail, and a second probation?  That is a message?

SaintClarence27 wrote on January 25, 2013 at 12:01 pm

Oh, okay. I mistook your original post. Sorry. I agree that this doesn't do a great job of sending a message. I wish we could get rid of a lot of the drug crimes and focus on violent and weapons crimes.


Also, I really would like us to focus on weapons sales that are illegal. I recall seeing somewhere that 1% of dealers account for 57% of illegal weapons sales. Not sure how accurate that is, but there should be a way to attack that.

Sid Saltfork wrote on January 25, 2013 at 2:01 pm

A FOID card holder in Illinois can buy several guns.  The owner is not required to report the  "stolen" guns.   Essentially; I can buy guns, and sell them to anyone for a higher price than I paid for them.  I can buy used guns from gun shows; and resell them for a profit.  Gun sales at gun shows are treated different than gun sales from gun dealers.  I am just a private citizen selling a gun.  If I sold my car to another, I would have to go through much more paperwork that is traceable.  Chicago has tough gun regulations; but you can drive outside of Cook County, and buy a gun from someone.  Not all "collectors" are collectors.  The reputable gun dealers are not the ones selling guns to the criminals.  The criminals are buying guns from other gun owners.  The criminals cannot obtain that many "stolen guns". 

SaintClarence27 wrote on January 25, 2013 at 4:01 pm

Well where does the problem begin? Should we institute registration and theft reporting requirements nationwide? If that were the case, couldn't we hold those who allow the guns to fall into criminal hands (whether by sale or theft) accountable?

Devil's advocate, but what's to prevent someone from selling a gun, then reporting it stolen to avoid liability?

commonfolk wrote on January 25, 2013 at 4:01 pm

Incorrect Sid. You must have a valid FOID to purchase or sell a firearm. You also have to keep a copy of each other's FOID for I think six years. It isn't like you can just sell to anyone. It's against the law for a dealer or citizen to sell to a criminal.

Sid Saltfork wrote on January 26, 2013 at 12:01 pm

Who is going to check on it?  No one comes around to count your guns.  How do you know that it was a criminal that bought your gun?  All of the guns in the criminals hands did not come from guns being stolen.  Is the gun's serial number registered with the FOID cardholder's name, and address?

82sage wrote on January 28, 2013 at 8:01 pm

 SID, I would agree wholeheartdly with your point!

commonfolk wrote on January 25, 2013 at 4:01 pm

Couldn't agree with you more Sid! Enforce the existing laws and quit making new ones that law abiding citizens don't want and criminals will ignore.

Sid Saltfork wrote on January 26, 2013 at 12:01 pm

Well, I happen to want the existing laws enforced; and new reasonable gun regulations enacted.  I am a gun owner, and FOID card holder.  With all of the guns out there, many of them are going to fall into the wrong hands.  I can get a gun easier than I can get a motorcycle.  I have to carry insurance, pass a test, and register the bike's VIN number with my license to have a bike.

82sage wrote on January 28, 2013 at 8:01 pm

 SID, if I agree or not the issue would be that driving is NOT a right but a priviledge, however gun ownership is a constitutional right...

sameeker wrote on January 31, 2013 at 4:01 pm

The notion that driving is a "privilage" and not a right is something made up by a state that is making millions from it. Not to mention the insurance companies too. There is nothing in the constitution that says a person shall be licensed and regulated to move freely within their country.

SaintClarence27 wrote on January 31, 2013 at 7:01 pm

There is also nothing in the constitution that even comes close to preventing it.

Further, notice that the licensure and regulations are at a STATE level, so you'd need to look at each individual state constitution.

sameeker wrote on February 01, 2013 at 2:02 am

The states are not supposed to be making laws that override the constitution. The interstate commerce clause would override the states restrictions on moving freely within the United States If the Supreme Court had the guts to say so.

SaintClarence27 wrote on February 01, 2013 at 9:02 am

How are there restrictions on moving freely, and how are the states making laws that override the constitution? Answer: they aren't.

danvillenative wrote on January 25, 2013 at 8:01 pm

The problem with many of these gun crimes can be fixed if the local justice system(states attorney) followed how the laws are written. Getting caught with a gun could land you in prison for years and there are sentencing enhancements that could keep him in prison longer. How ironic is it that most of these criminals are just repeat offenders.But luckily we live in a society who will give these criminals a second chance and third and fourth and so on. I guess on the other hand we cant put them in prison cause our wonderful governor wants to close them all

SaintClarence27 wrote on January 27, 2013 at 3:01 pm

Yeah, how terrible that we don't just automatically execute people for every crime. We all know that all people who commit a single crime are lifelong criminals. NO SECOND CHANCES!

Sid Saltfork wrote on January 27, 2013 at 4:01 pm

At least; the serious crimes would not be repeated.  Timothy McVeigh was executed for the Oklahoma Bombing.  What is the difference between hundreds, and a few innocents being murdered?  Any murderer who kills randomly would not do it again. 

Bulldogmojo wrote on January 25, 2013 at 11:01 pm

A couple of years ago I wanted to look at a bolt action .22 cal target rifle at Dicks Sporting goods. I was asked by the clerk to present my FOID card to examine it or just an Indiana drivers license if I was from Ind. Hmmm, pretty broad difference in purchase eligibility just due to the off chance I drove 50 minutes from the Indiana border to Champaign. Various state gun laws across the U.S. are clearly not scalable to each other and post purchase accountability is sketchy at best. Its kind of like "Fast and Furious" you don't know who had the actual weapon until its too late and the crime/murder has already taken place. Too many loose ends with chain of custody of weapons. A person should have to present weapons registered in their name with some regularity or be charged with a crime if they can't present them.

82sage wrote on January 28, 2013 at 8:01 pm

 Totally disagree with this point, if I am a foid card holder and I sell a gun I am required by present law to keep those records for 7 years. .The issue could be the lack of a background check at that sell. If one's foid card has been revoked how would I know that without the check? I would NOT resist a mandated background check at the buyers expense to all fiearms sales...

Sid Saltfork wrote on January 29, 2013 at 8:01 pm

If I am the buyer; how do I know if the gun your selling me is stolen, or not?  I would willing go through the background check; but I would want the seller to go through it also.  Both of us would be registered as FOID card holders passing our background checks; but the gun is not registered by serial number to the FOID card holder.  Guns get sold everyday.  Some of them are legal, and some of them are stolen.  Either way, they are getting into the hands of the wrong people.  If I sell my truck; it has to go through vehicle registration, and change of title.  Yeah.. I know that driving is a privilege, and gun ownership is a right; but what is the real opposition about registering guns to their FOID card owners, and sales requiring registration and background checks?  The criminals are getting the majority of their guns from sellers.  There are too many to be all stolen; or a heck of a lot of owners are not reporting stolen guns.