Counties focus on mental illness, gun access

Mar 7, 2013

More Illinois counties are complying with a law intended to keep guns away from people with mental illness. IPR’s Chris Slaby reports: 

 An audit last year found only three county court clerks reported people with "disqualifying mental health conditions" to the Illinois State Police.  Now, that number's up to 27.   Jessica Tramme is chief of the firearm services bureau for the Illinois State Police.She says a change in January means judges MUST order court clerks to notify the State Police when people are found "mental defective" or "intellectually disabled."

Tramme says that information lets police identify who doesn't qualify for a Firearm Owners Identification … or "FOID" … card. But ...

 “There is still much improvement needed, particularly in the area of underreporting.” Because while 27 counties have now reported cases to the police, that means Illinois' other 75 still have not.Chris Kachiroubas, the DuPage county circuit clerk, says some counties just may not have any cases to report. And even when they do:

 "They can only transmit what information they have to the state police.” Meaning when state police decide whether to issue a FOID card -- they may not have a complete picture of an applicant's mental health.