CHICAGO (WLS) — The deadly mass shooting in Maine has reignited the debate over gun laws in Illinois, this time about so-called “Red Flag Laws” that are supposed to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people.
At least 21 states, including Illinois, have “Red Flag Laws.” They allow people to petition to have guns taken from those posing a threat to themselves or others.
It appears that the suspect in the Maine shooting, Robert Card, fell through the cracks of these laws, according to officials.
“I think we need to start with a federal ban on assault weapons and high capacity ammunition magazines,” said Gun Violence Prevention PAC President Kathleen Sances. “Every state should implement a Red Flag Law.”
Card was named by local authorities as the suspect wanted in the shootings that have left at least 18 people dead and 13 more injured.
But questions are now being raised about why Card, an Army reservist who was hospitalized in New York this summer after threatening fellow soldiers with violence, was able to possess the weapons that law enforcement says he used to kill so many people.
New York has a red flag law that would have allowed for Card’s hospitalization to be reported to law enforcement, who could have petitioned to have any guns confiscated, but Maine does not.. (29) 48
“It’s horrific, an absolute travesty, and I think you have the human toll on one side, but the bigger travesty is that the system failed once again,” former NRA lobbyist Todd Vandermyde said.
“Obviously… you have to have somebody who’s willing to report it if somebody’s willing to go through that process in order to have those red flag laws go into effect,” Illinois Governor JB Pritzker said.
Pritzker, who said he has a friend from Lewiston, also renewed his call for a federal assault weapons ban.
“It’s so incredibly disappointing that our nation has not acted on gun safety laws that really would keep these kinds of guns out of the hands of not just somebody that’s mentally ill, but somebody who isn’t and wants to do harm to a lot of people,” Pritzker said.
Mental health experts said this case shows there needs to be better coordination between care providers and law enforcement.
“I think we’ve had enough tragedy that should motivate. I think we need to stop politicizing mental health and guns,” said National Alliance on Mental Illness Chicago President Alexa James. “I think we have to understand that we should no matter what tried to avoid any other person being killed, or their lives wrecked for the rest of their lives, that town will never be the same.”
James said the inconsistency of gun laws from state to state complicates efforts to prevent mass shootings. She said there needs to be a collaborative strategy because of the impact the tragedies have on people, not just where they happen, but in many other places as well.