Northwest Herald

Eye On Illinois: State Police gun violence prevention effort requires broad input

Numbers tell a story, but rarely without help.

The Illinois State Police issued a news release Monday touting its updated Clear and Present Danger reporting system, through which education, medical and law enforcement professionals submit information about people believed to pose a significant threat. ISP evaluates the reports against the person’s status within the Firearm Owner’s Identification program.

Scott T. Holland

Through Sept. 30, ISP took 10,144 such reports, an average of 37 per day. Of those, 4,912 subjects didn’t have an active FOID card or pending application. For 4,212 reports, the outcome was a revoked card or denied application. That leaves 1,020, about 10% of the overall pool. Presumably this accounts for people with cards or applications whose status remained unchanged.

ISP doesn’t indicate what the outcome might’ve been for people currently outside the FOID system, but it included 11 stories of investigations conducted this year, many of which noted “the information can be taken into consideration for eligibility” should someone in that group later apply to own a weapon.

Some of the reports are clearly domestic situations: “An individual attempted to light his wife on fire. After dousing her with gasoline, she was able to escape to a neighbor’s house before he ignited the lighter he was holding. The local police investigation revealed the individual recently obtained a FOID card. Police submitted a Clear and Present Danger report and ISP immediately revoked the individual’s FOID card.”

Others echoed familiar tragedies: “… was recently fired and was making threats towards his former place of employment. Police received information that this person’s mental health had been deteriorating over the course of the last several weeks and he simultaneously had been purchasing multiple firearms and ammunition during that time period.”

There are stories of preventing personal tragedy: “… person who had been hospitalized due to expressing suicidal ideations and who attempted to purchase a firearm for pickup upon his release from the hospital. A social worker notified law enforcement, who submitted the Clear and Present Danger report. ISP affirmed the determination and revoked the individual’s FOID card. ISP successfully located the firearm dealer to communicate that the individual’s FOID was now revoked, and the individual was prevented from obtaining the firearm. ISP’s investigation revealed the individual had called the firearm dealer from the psychiatric ward to check on the status of the gun he had ordered.”

The full release is at It contains no details on the reports ISP didn’t affirm or if those reported later committed violence without guns. There’s no way to know how often a person in power opted against submitting a report.

Thousands of people are involved in attempting to preserve safety. They aren’t perfect, but their work is important.

• Scott T. Holland writes about state government issues for Shaw Media. Follow him on Twitter @sth749. He can be reached at

Scott Holland

Scott T. Holland

Scott T. Holland writes about state government issues for Shaw Media Illinois. Follow him on Twitter at @sth749. He can be reached at