Mass shootings often unintentionally illustrate the ineffectiveness of anti-Second Amendment policies. Just last week, a 45-year-old man went on a shooting rampage at the Henry Pratt Company in Aurora, a suburb just west of Chicago. It was another instance showing how easily gun control fails.
According to the Chicago Tribune, the man, who had worked at the facility for 15 years, pulled a gun and killed three people during a meeting where he was fired. He then ran out into the company at large, shooting and killing two more employees. When police swarmed the scene, he shot several officers before being killed by police.
Illinois has highly restrictive gun-control laws. You need an official Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card not only to buy a gun but also just to buy ammunition. In fact, most gun stores won’t even let you handle a firearm without a FOID.
Illinois was the last state in the nation to allow concealed carry of a firearm. Actually getting a concealed carry permit is quite expensive and requires two full days of training. Extremely restrictive Illinois state laws prohibit carry in so many places that some residents say having a permit is pointless.
Shooter Had Violent History
The shooter’s background is particularly illuminating. According to the Chicago Tribune, court records show that he had “a history of violent behavior going back more than two decades, including stabbing one girlfriend and threatening to kill another.”
He was first convicted of aggravated assault in the mid-1990s in Mississippi. Authorities added that he regularly abused a recent girlfriend, at one point hitting her with a baseball bat and stabbing her with a knife.
Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman told USA Today that “[the shooter] had six prior arrests, including one in 2008 for a domestic matter and one in 2017 for disorderly conduct and criminal damage to property.” In both cases, he violated several restraining orders — stalking, harassing and threatening the women involved. [Emphasis ours]
Background Checks: No Magic Wand
Ziman said that the shooter underwent a background check in January of 2014 and was issued an Illinois FOID. This allowed him to purchase the Smith & Wesson handgun from a local dealer on March 11, 2014.
Five days later, when he applied for a concealed carry permit — which requires a more extensive background check — Ziman told USA Today, “[the shooter’s] fingerprints turned up a felony conviction in Mississippi in 1995. At that point, his carry permit was revoked.” Chief Ziman also admitted that “this conviction would not have shown up on a criminal background check conducted for a FOID card.”
Note also that even after finding out that the man was a convicted violent felon, which prohibits him from even possessing a firearm, there apparently was no law enforcement follow-up to confiscate the gun.
Those of us who carry firearms understand that no “universal” background check scheme will ever be foolproof. Nothing will ever prevent gangs, drug dealers, terrorists and even psychopaths from getting a gun.
Another Gun-Free Zone
Finally, as is too often the case, it appears that the Henry Pratt Company prohibited guns on the premises. That innocent people continue to be rendered defenseless by demonstrably ineffective government laws and corporate policies is the real atrocity.
We must never stop fighting for sane policies.