Kane state's attorney probes how gunman bought and kept firearm despite felony record

Updated 4/16/2019 5:10 PM

The Kane County state's attorney's office is still probing how the Henry Pratt gunman was able to buy and keep a handgun after state police determined he wasn't allowed to have a weapon because of a felony conviction in Mississippi.

"Maybe the one who's criminally responsible is deceased. If that's the case, let's learn from this. Let's tighten up the FOID Revocation Act in Illinois," said State's Attorney Joe McMahon Tuesday during his monthly media meeting. "Part of it is resources. The state police, like every law enforcement agency, needs more resources."


Authorities have said the gunman in the Feb. 15 workplace shooting that killed five people applied for and obtained a Firearm Owner's Identification card in January 2014, which is necessary in Illinois to own a gun or possess ammunition.

But the man, who bought his gun in March 2014, lied on his application to state police about having never been convicted of a felony, which would have stopped him from obtaining the FOID card.

Only after the man applied for a concealed carry permit in Illinois did state police learn of a 1995 felony conviction in Mississippi because he had to be fingerprinted. State police mailed the man a letter on April 15, 2014, telling him he had turn in his gun because his FOID card was revoked but did not follow up on it.

McMahon said the investigation is ongoing and his office may make recommendations after it is done.

"We will conduct an investigation into the application process, the review process, how he acquired the firearm," McMahon said.

"And, again, without predetermining anything, because I haven't, it may be that other than the part of (the gunman), there may not have been criminal conduct. But I won't know that until we complete the investigation and our review of the information.

"If that's the scenario, where there was no criminal conduct, I will release the findings of the investigation and hopefully policymakers can use that to improve the FOID Revocation Act. There are clearly some gaps in that law."

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