The suspected Chicago gunman has a police history. But with his father’s help, he was able to circumvent Illinois’ strict gun laws. That also puts Joe Biden’s reform bill into perspective.
The shooter was known to the police, he had psychological problems – and yet in a state with comparatively strict gun laws he was able to legally buy five guns and kill seven people. Even days after the bloody crime in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park, many people in the United States are shocked. But the question of how the attack could have happened and whether the applicable laws are ineffective is being asked more and more loudly. “Are there loopholes in our rules?” Julie Morrison is not the only one to suspect. The Democratic Senator in the Illinois Congress and her family witnessed the mass shooting on Independence Day. “Far too many people in this country are going through the trauma of gun violence,” she tweeted afterwards.
After the attacks in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas, Democrats and moderate Republicans in the US Senate agreed on a minimal tightening of gun laws, which President Joe Biden praised as a success. For example, people under the age of 21 must be checked by the police before buying a gun. Weapons should also be able to be confiscated if their owner poses a danger to himself or his environment. But similar rules are already in force in the democratically governed state of Illinois and could not prevent the bloodbath.
Alleged shooter of Chicago: Robert C. has made a confession
Robert C., 21, has since confessed to shooting at the holiday parade on the morning of July 4th. According to police, he used an AR-15-like automatic semi-automatic rifle that was designed for security forces and the military but is freely available in the United States. 83 shell casings were found on the roof of the building from which the assassin fired. According to his own statements, Robert C. then considered another attack in the neighboring state of Wisconsin with a second automatic rifle and 60 rounds of ammunition in the car, which he did not carry out for unknown reasons.
According to the findings of the investigators, Robert C. legally owned a total of five firearms, which he bought in the summer of 2020 and in the fall of 2021 – although the police took his personal details twice in 2019. The authorities were first informed in April 2019 that the then 18-year-old was allegedly suicidal. After the parents assured that the son was being treated, the case was closed. Then, in September 2019, a relative alerted police that Robert C. had a collection of knives and was threatening to “kill anyone.” Officers confiscated 16 knives, a dagger and a sword from the youth’s room. The weapons were handed back after the father had pretended to be the owner.
Chicago shooter showed rapper videos and depictions of violence on the Internet
That was the end of the process for the police. No incriminating documents were found when Robert C. applied for a license in December 2019, as is required in Illinois – unlike in republican states – to purchase a firearm. Because he was not yet 21 years old, his father acted as guarantor.
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In addition to rapper videos, he also published depictions of violence on the Internet. But nobody noticed that. Illinois’ “Red Flag” law, which expressly allows weapons to be confiscated if the owner poses a risk, did not apply. Then, on July 4, he took the lives of seven people.