It was less than a year ago that Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed into law what he called “the most comprehensive reform to our state firearms laws in over a generation.”
“This is the type of lasting change the people of our state need and deserve,” House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch said at the time.
“This consequential piece of legislation modernizes our decades-old FOID system and ensures we keep firearms out of the hands of people who are a danger to themselves and others, while at the same time streamlines the process for responsible gun owners,” said state Sen. Dave Koehler, D-Peoria.
Less than a year later, we know that’s not true.
The legislation did not bring about lasting change, nor did it keep firearms out of the hands of people who are a danger to themselves or others.
Loopholes remain in Illinois’ gun laws, including one that enabled Robert “Bobby” Crimo III, the alleged shooter in the July 4 Highland Park massacre, to legally obtain a FOID card and to buy a semi-automatic rifle.
Crimo had attempted suicide, police had been called to his family’s home several times for domestic violence disputes, and he had allegedly threatened to “kill everyone” in his family.
None of that came up in the review when State Police approved him for a firearms permit.
Lawmakers and others already are discussing the possibility of holding a special legislative session this summer to again address flaws in the current system.
But before they do so, somebody — the governor, the attorney general, the Legislature, somebody — should conduct hearings, gather opinions and review legislation in other states to ensure that any new legislation is comprehensive, fair, constitutional and achievable.
Too often lawmakers tend to govern by crisis and approve legislation that is quickly found to be insufficient or unconstitutional.
That does no one any good, particularly in tragic cases like the Highland Park parade shooting.
Our legislators need to hear from the Illinois State Police, local officers, prosecutors and others to come up with the most comprehensive and constitutional response to not only the Highland Park incident but the epidemic of shootings that continues to plague Illinois.