Illinois State Police update language of FOID card clear and present danger rule

Published: Nov. 15, 2022 at 5:29 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD (WGEM) - The Illinois State Police have updated language in an emergency rule pertaining to clear and present danger reporting and FOID cards. State lawmakers initially approved the rule in August addressing a loophole that came to light after the Highland Park mass shooting.

ISP Director Brendan Kelly said Tuesday that the state’s mental health laws help determine whether someone should have a gun or not. State police can deny a FOID card application or revoke a FOID if someone is reported to be a clear and present danger to themselves or others.

Under the new language, people who have a denial or revocation due to a clear and present danger report may be issued a new card as long as there are no new reports filed within five years. The applicant must also pass a mental health evaluation by a physician, clinical psychologist, or qualified examiner and have a certification that they are no longer a clear and present danger.

“Given that people who have some expertise in mental health have already discussed this in terms of how it should apply under the law, given that the General Assembly at some point debated what the timeframe should be for that type of mental health reporting, we decided to settle and retain those records for five years,” Kelly said.

Kelly told the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules that state police want to see if there is an increasing risk trajectory for people over the five year period. He explained that clear and present danger reports can be filed against anyone with assaultive, homicidal, or suicidal behavior. Local law enforcement is responsible for filing clear and present danger reports.

Kelly noted that state police will keep clear and present danger records for five years from when the report is received for reports that do not meet the statutory definition of “clear and present.”  Clear and Present Danger reports that do meet the statutory definition will continue to be maintained.

“This is not a rule that is somehow requiring local law enforcement to destroy that police report which could be relevant to any number of their investigations,” Kelly said. “It’s just that we will not maintain it for purposes of making a decision about someone who is eligible for a firearm or not.”

Kelly and state lawmakers hope this change can prevent another tragedy such as the Highland Park shooting. JCAR members said they appreciated the hard work state police put into drafting and updating the emergency rule in the months following the mass shooting.

Highland Park police received a concerning report from a juvenile on Sept. 5, 2019, that Robert Crimo III threatened to kill everyone in his family. Local officers confiscated 16 knives, a dagger, and a sword before they submitted a clear and present danger notice to Illinois State Police. Crimo told officers he did not want to hurt himself or others during the investigation of his home. The teenager and his mother also explained that the weapons found in a lunch box belonged to his father.

However, Crimo was still able to apply for a FOID card three months later with his father co-signing the application. ISP had already eliminated that clear and present danger report because Crimo did not have a FOID card or pending FOID application in September 2019.

The old FOID administrative rule said State Police were responsible for making the final determination regarding whether or not a clear and present danger existed in order to revoke or deny a FOID card. Kelly and lawmakers feel that leaving the decision to mental health experts is a much better option.

State police hope to make this a permanent rule in the coming months.

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