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Published On: Sun, Feb 17th, 2019

Aurora shooting: Gary Martin was convicted of a felony, should not have been able to buy a gun

The mass shooting in Illinois shocked gun control activists and gun owners alike as news broke that Gary Martin, a convicted felon, was able to buy a firearm.

Martin, 45, fatally shot and killed five people, wounded five police officers in the attack at an Illinois warehouse Friday, at the Henry Pratt Company. In 1994, Martin severely beat a woman in a domestic violence incident that turned him into a felon — something which should have prevented him from buying a gun, especially in a state with some of the nation’s strictest gun laws.

Martin pleaded guilty and was sentenced to five years in prison, though records show he served less than three years. He later moved to Aurora, Ill., where he spent 15 years working at a warehouse, where he was able to buy a gun.

Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman said that the suspect had previously been arrested on six separate occasions by the Aurora Police Department, “including arrests for traffic and domestic battery-related issues.”

He was last arrested by the department “in 2008 for violating an order of protection.” However, he was most recently arrested “in 2017 by the Oswego, Illinois Police Department for disorderly conduct and criminal damage to property.”

The suspect obtained a Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card in January 2014. Two months later, he purchased a Smith & Wesson .40 caliber handgun.

Gary Martin

“During the finger-printing and background process” for a conceal and carry permit, “it was discovered that [the suspect] had a felony conviction for aggravated assault out of Mississippi,” Ziman stated.

“The date of that conviction was August 3, 1995. It should be noted that this conviction would not necessarily have shown up on a criminal background check conducted for a FOID card. Once this felony conviction was discovered, the offender’s conceal and carry permit was rejected, and his FOID card was revoked by the Illinois State Police.”

A reporter asked the following question: “Does the series of events relating to the gun license and the revocation of his FOID card mean that he was in illegal possession of that gun?”

Ziman replied: “That is absolutely correct, yes.”

The reporter followed up by asking if authorities should have confiscated the suspect’s firearm after his FOID card was revoked, to which Ziman replied: “That’s what we are determining right now as part of our investigation … absolutely he was not supposed to be in possession of a firearm. … After a FOID card revocation, the subject is provided a letter stating that they need to relinquish their firearms, and we’re looking into why that did not happen.”

Martin was killed in the firefight with police.

According to Ziman, four of the five injured police officers suffered gunshot wounds to various limbs, and one was hit with shrapnel. As of the press conference, two officers were being treated and were in stable condition, while the other three had been treated and released, or were expected to be released.

About the Author

- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at [email protected] ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

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