Daily Herald opinion: There are obvious 'don'ts' when someone shows signs of being a threat

If your child has threatened violence against himself or others, please don't help him obtain a gun.

You can be the staunchest supporter of the Second Amendment and still recognize the danger.

The suspect in the Highland Park July 4 parade shooting had a troubled history but was able to obtain a Firearm Owners Identification card — and thereby purchase the high-powered rifle that authorities say he used to kill seven people and wound dozens of others — when he was younger than 21 because his father sponsored his application.

The FOID card application was submitted in December 2019, the same year the suspect threatened to kill himself with a machete and, a few months later, threatened to kill everyone in his home, according to Highland Park police reports.

Lake County prosecutors alleged last week that Crimo Jr.'s assistance amounted to reckless conduct, even though his actions were legal.

“Parents and guardians are in the best position to decide whether their teenager should have a weapon,” State's Attorney Eric Rinehart said. “They are the first line of defense. In this case, that system failed when Robert Crimo Jr. sponsored his son. He knew what he knew, and he signed the form anyway.”

Crimo Jr. is free after posting bond on seven felony counts — one for each person slain at the parade.

“Reckless conduct” almost doesn't seem like an adequate description, although Crimo faces up to three years in prison if convicted.

In Michigan, authorities lodged unprecedented charges of involuntary manslaughter against James and Jennifer Crumbley, whose son has pleaded guilty to murdering four students in 2021 at Oxford High School. They had bought their 15-year-old the 9 mm Sig. Sauer handgun he used in the killings.

According to a court filing, Jennifer Crumbley was aware of her son's mental state, saying in the back of a police car that “my biggest fear was that he was gonna turn the gun on himself.”

She also had expressed concerns about disturbing drawings he had posted on social media, prosecutors allege. So why would you put a gun in his hands? Why?

The suspect in the Highland Park shooting also made graphic social media posts that referenced gun violence.

Add those to his threats of harm to himself and family members, and you have a field of red flags. How could anyone in good conscience ignore them?

The Illinois House Judiciary Law Committee has been meeting in Chicago this week, taking testimony on a proposal introduced by Democrat Bob Morgan of Deerfield that, among other provisions, would ban the manufacture, sale or purchase of more than 100 semi-automatic firearms or assault-style weapons, including the AR-15. Approval of such a ban could make situations facing those like the parents in Highland Park and Oxford, Michigan, unnecessary.

In the meantime, let's remember that when a child or family member shows signs of lacking the ability to use good judgment involving their safety or that of others, it's up to us to use good judgment for them.

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