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Robert Crimo III, who opened fire during an Independence Day celebration in Highland Park, Illinois, had a history of encounters with local police, but was not barred from legally purchasing weapons.
Investigators told news outlets that Crimo obtained the proper identification needed to legally purchase firearms and passed several background checks before buying his weapons legally.
Neither law enforcement officials nor the shooter’s family members used the state’s red flag law and petitioned to prevent him from acquiring guns.
Some social media users claimed Robert Crimo III, the 21-year-old who authorities say confessed to opening fire during an Independence Day celebration in Highland Park, obtained his firearms illegally.
"He bought the gun illegally," the July 5 post read. "You FBI better step up on your game."
The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
The post’s initial claim is wrong, too. Crimo’s weapons were purchased legally.
Crimo had a history of encounters with local police, but he was not barred from buying guns.
In April 2019, police responded to a report that he had attempted suicide. In September 2019, he made threats that prompted local law enforcement officials to temporarily seize knives and a sword Crimo had kept in a closet.
In December 2019, Crimo applied for a Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card, which is needed to legally buy firearms in Illinois. This was about three months after Highland Park police had filed a "clear and present danger" report about Crimo because of his threats.
Because he was younger than 21 at the time, Crimo’s application included a legal guardian affidavit signed by his father.
Crimo legally obtained his FOID card in 2020 after his application was reviewed, The Chicago Tribune reported.
He also passed four background checks when purchasing firearms between June 2020 and September 2021. His criminal history included a possession of tobacco violation and he had no "mental health prohibitor reports," according to law enforcement.
From 2020 and 2021, authorities say Crimo legally purchased five guns, including the one he used during the July 4 attack, Reuters reported.
Illinois has a red flag law that would have allowed Crimo’s family or law enforcement to petition a judge to temporarily prevent Crimo from possessing or obtaining firearms because he was considered dangerous. In this case, however, neither law enforcement nor any family members filed a petition seeking to prevent Crimo from acquiring guns.
A Facebook post claimed that Crimo "bought the gun illegally."
Investigators told news outlets that Crimo obtained the proper identification to legally purchase firearms and passed several background checks before ultimately buying his weapons legally.
We rate this claim False.
The Chicago Tribune, "Like another before him, alleged Highland Park mass shooter passed through Illinois gun-permitting system intended to stop him," July 8, 2022
Axios, "The latest on Highland Park shootings," July 6, 2022
The Independent, "Highland Park banned assault weapons a decade ago. A fragile patchwork of gun laws didn’t stop a mass shooting," July 6, 2022
The New York Times, "Highland Park Shooting Reveals Limits of Illinois’s Gun Restrictions," July 6, 2022
NBC News, "Highland Park parade suspect legally purchased multiple weapons, official says," July 5, 2022
The Guardian, "Highland Park shooting suspect charged with murder as police reveal past threat against family," July 5, 2022
Axios, "How Robert Crimo legally bought his guns," July 7, 2022
Reuters, "Why Illinois' gun laws did not stop the Highland Park shooter from buying weapons," July 7, 2022
City of Highland Park Illinois, "Highland Park (IL) Fourth of July Parade Shooting Afternoon Update," July 5, 2022
Illinois State Police, "Redacted Highland Park Police Department Clear and Present Danger Report Reference Highland Park July 4 Parade Shooting," released July 6, 2022
Illinois State Police, "Clear and Present Danger Process information," released July 6, 2022
Reuters, "July 4 parade shooting suspect slipped past Illinois ‘red flag’ safeguards," July 6, 2022
WBEZ Chicago, "Will the parents of the suspect in the Highland Park mass shooting face legal trouble?" July 10, 2022
Giffords Law Center, "Illinois Gun Laws," accessed July 11, 2022
The Chicago Tribune, "Are Chicago’s gun laws the strictest in the United States? Not anymore," May 27, 2022
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