February 16, 2019
Aurora Shooting Suspect Wasn't Legally Allowed To Possess A Firearm Due To A Past Felony

Forty-five-year-old Gary Montez Martin had been an employee at the Henry Pratt Company, a large manufacturing plant in Aurora, Illinois for 15 years. On Friday, he was brought into a meeting during which he was told he would be fired. Upon receiving the news, Martin opened fire. He killed five people and injured several police officers before he was eventually shot and killed by law enforcement. Upon further examination of his record, police are saying that Martin should have never been allowed to own a firearm due to a past felony, according to NBC News.

In January of 2014, Martin obtained an Illinois Firearm Owner's Identification (FOID) Card, which allowed him to legally own a firearm. He then purchased a Smith & Wesson.40 caliber handgun a couple months later. While a background check was issued on Martin prior to the FOID card being issued, he was not fingerprinted. The background check neglected to show his violent past.

Martin had a 1995 felony conviction for aggravated assault in Mississippi on his record. This conviction should have banned him from legally carrying a firearm. However, this part of Martin's past didn't reveal itself until he applied for a concealed permit on March 16, 2014 and was fingerprinted. At this point, his FOID card was revoked and he was denied the concealed carry permit he'd been trying to obtain.

Police records show that Martin was sent a letter commanding him to drop off his weapons at the local police station. However, they are still looking into whether or not the department actually followed up with him when he failed to relinquish his weapons.

Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman said that Martin issued a statement regarding the tragedy, according to USA Today.

"Absolutely he was not supposed to be in possession of a gun. During the fingerprinting and background process it was discovered that he had a felony conviction for aggravated assault out of Mississippi. It should be noted that this conviction would not have shown up on a criminal background check conducted for an FOID card."
The alleged shooter had a long history of arrests in Aurora, Illinois. He was arrested six times by the Aurora Police Department for issues spanning from domestic violence to traffic violations. His most recent arrest was by the Oswego Police Department in 2017 for disorderly conduct and causing property damage.

Those who lost their lives as a result of Martin's actions included Clayton Parks, Trevor Wehner, Russell Beyer, Vicente Juarez, and Josh Pinkard.