PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) – Tuesday’s massacre in Uvelde, TX, was the spark that reignited the debate over gun control.
The shooter, who opened fire in a fourth-grade classroom at Robb Elementary School, used an assault rifle to murder 19 children and two teachers.
To buy a gun, the buyer has to fill out a form from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.
The form is then submitted to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, formed by the FBI. According to the FBI website, the program was launched in 1998. Since then, more than 300 million background checks were performed, and 1.5 million buyers were denied.
This means the denial rate is about 0.005%.
Despite the legal process, buyers are still able to get guns under the radar. According to CNN Money, people can regularly get guns from family, friends, neighbors, etc.
The Pew Research Center reported one in three adults own a gun.
In Illinois, all firearms are fair game for purchase, but the law requires background checks when getting a permit to purchase and at the point of sale. According to Everytown for Gun Safety, only 21 states have adopted similar policies.
Everytown also reported that 99% of Americans live within 10 miles of a gun dealer.
Illinois does not regulate the sale of assault weapons, according to The Daily Dot. Local municipalities can restrict them, however. For example, Cook County adopted the Blair Holt Assault Weapons Ban.
In addition, the buyer must have a Firearm Owner’s ID (FOID). Anyone 21 or older can get a FOID card, but people can be as young as 18 to possess a firearm. A waiting period is also in place.
On the federal level, there is no law requiring gun show sellers to perform background checks. On the state level, however, Illinois closed the loophole in 2005.
The Illinois State Police (ISP) is the point of contact for background checks for those who are attempting to purchase a gun, according to the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
The state requires ISP to search its criminal record history, as well as the FBI and NICS databases and the Department of Human Services files, to see if there is relevant information related to the person’s mental health and developmental disabilities that would possibly disqualify them from having a gun.
In Illinois, anyone who attempts to buy a gun but is not approved is to be automatically reported to local law enforcement, as required by the ISP.
According to GAT Guns, a firearms dealer out of East Dundee, Illinois requires a 72-hour wait period for long guns and handguns as long as the background check has been approved.
A simple online search of Midwest Firearms Company brought WMBD to a page of assault rifles in minutes. As stated on its website, customers must enter the store after purchasing to fill out the necessary paperwork.
EveryStat, a byproduct of Everytown, ranked Illinois #10 for deaths by gun homicides per state, with 934 people dying in an average year to a gun homicide. This equates to 7.7 deaths per 100,000 people.
In summary: In Illinois, anyone with a FOID card and a clean background check can purchase an assault rifle legally.