The suspected Aurora, Illinois gunman owned his weapon illegally

  • The gunman involved in the shooting in Aurora, Illinois had his firearm owner identification card revoked in March 2014, police said in a Saturday press conference.
  • When applying for a concealed carry permit, Gary Martin provided fingerprints that turned up a conviction from August 1995 in Mississippi.
  • Once his card was revoked, his ownership of the 0.4-calibre Smith & Wesson pistol that was used in Friday’s shooting was no longer valid.
  • Police also said Martin had six prior arrests by the Aurora Police Department for charges including traffic and domestic battery issues.

The gunman involved in a shooting that killed five people in Aurora, Illinois had his firearm owner identification card revoked by state police in March 2014.

Aurora police chief Kristen Ziman told media Saturday that investigators were looking into how Martin “had access to a firearm he shouldn’t have had access to,” as it appeared despite his lengthy legal history in the state, he fell between the cracks for police monitoring of gun ownership.

On March 11, 2014, Martin became the owner of a Smith & Wesson .40 calibre handgun from an Illinois dealer. Later that month, his application for a concealed carry permit was denied and his FOID, or firearm owner identification, card was revoked by Illinois State Police after the fingerprint process for a concealed carry permit turned up a conviction from August 1995 in Mississippi.

State guidelines stipulate that after the card is revoked, the person must submit details to state police on the guns they own and identify another valid FOID holder who will hold the guns during the revocation.

Upon revocation, state authorities notify local police, who likely won’t seize guns from the former FOID holder unless they fail to submit the form, which is a misdemeanour and allows police to search for and seize the guns, but was reported by the Chicago Tribune to be a rarity unless the person is stopped for some other violation.

Ziman said officers were continuing to investigate with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms to determine what happened after Martin’s failed background check and why his gun wasn’t relinquished to authorities.

Gary martin (1) aurora shootingAurora Police Department

Flags that could trigger a FOID card being denied or revoked include felony charges, domestic violence convictions, narcotic abuse, commitment to a mental health facility within the past five years, intellectual or developmental disability, or is the subject of a court restraining order.

Read more: Gunman in Aurora shooting ‘went ballistic’ using pistol with green laser sight, witness says

Martin had a fairly extensive legal history in Illinois, Ziman said, with six prior arrests by the Aurora Police Department, including arrests for traffic and domestic battery-related issues.

His most recent arrest in the state was in 2017 by the nearby Oswego Police Department for disorderly conduct and criminal damage to property.

Martin was a longtime assembly worker at the valve plant who was going to be fired from his job on the day of the attack. He reportedly showed up to a meeting with a Smith & Wesson handgun, and initially opened fire on the executives in the meeting room before targeting those who were at work on the plant floor.

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