Head of CPD, activists back proposal requiring fingerprints for gun purchases

CHICAGO — As the Illinois General Assembly considers legislation requiring all gun buyers get fingerprinted, CPD Supt. Eddie Johnson and gun control advocates held an event to cheer them on Tuesday.

Authorities now admit a laid-off worker who opened fire inside the Henry Pratt Company on February 15, killing five and wounding six others, should never have had a Firearms Owner’s Identification card.

When authorities first checked his name and birthdate, nothing came up that would disqualify him from purchasing the gun eventually used in the shooting. Later, when he submitted his fingerprints to try and get a concealed carried permit, the state found a felony conviction and asked him to turn in his guns.

Now Democrats in Springfield are pushing new measures that would extend the use of fingerprints in background checks. Under federal laws, only buyers of certain types of weapons are required to undergo fingerprinting. Democrats want everybody fingerprinted.

"Gun violence in Illinois is a public health crisis. It happens in the city, it happens in the suburbs and we need to fix it now," said Kathleen Sance, G-PAC.

The proposed measures require authorities to collect fingerprints from people applying for gun licenses, or allow people seeking a FOID card to provide their fingerprints to the state police.

Gun control advocates say fingerprints help state and federal authorities spot applicants who lie on their FOID paperwork. The NRA has called the possibility of requiring fingerprints an attack on the Second Amendment.

After a violent weekend in Chicago where there was 24 shootings and five murders, CPD Supt. Johnson continues to make the case for tougher gun laws.

"In the City of Chicago we have a gun problem, and until we have common sense legislation – there’s no reason that a private dealer should be able to give Eddie Johnson a firearm without checking my background," Johnson said.

"This weekend’s violence is absolutely the result of two things: we have a gang problem but we have an illegal gun problem in Chicago," Johnson said.

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