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Aurora Gunman Purchased Handgun In 2014 Despite Felony Conviction

CHICAGO (CBS)-- Gunman Gary Martin, 45, was able to obtain a handgun in 2014 despite his prior felony conviction, according to Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman.

In a news conference Saturday, Ziman said Martin was not legally in possession of the firearm he used to open fire at the Henry Pratt building Friday, leaving five dead and six police officers wounded.

According to Ziman, Martin was issued an Illinois Firearm Owner's Identification card in January of 2014.

In March of 2014, he applied to buy a weapon from an Aurora gun dealer and obtained a Smith & Wesson .40-caliber handgun.

Martin also applied for a concealed carry license in March of 2014. During the fingerprinting and background check process, police discovered his 1995 felony conviction for aggravated assault in Mississippi.

Ziman said Illinois State Police revoked Martin's FOID card and sent a letter stating he needed to voluntarily relinquish his firearm and card.

Illinois State Police confirmed they are investigating.

Mark Jones, senior policy advisor for the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence, said the process of relinquishing weapons has long been an "honor system."

He said this case demonstrates how easy it is for gun owners in Illinois to hold on to their guns after their cards have been revoked.

There is currently no organized program amongst law enforcement agencies to physically recover FOIDs or prohibited firearms.

Jones said that in 2017 ISP revoked about 11,000 FOID cards. Only about 4,000 people actually submitted the forms saying what they did with the guns.

"People are going to want to know why," Jones said. "They're going to want to look at this and say, 'How do we stop this from happening again?'"

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