RALEIGH, N.C. (WGHP) — The accused gunman involved in Monday’s shooting in Highland Park, Illinois, has many people questioning if the violence could have been prevented if law enforcement knew what Robert Crimo III was posting online?
Police said Crimo left a trail of videos on social media alluding to violence and mass shootings. One of them was a music video showing a stick figure with an automatic rifle and a person lying in a pool of blood.
“If the public sees something that is concerning online with anybody, they should notify the social media network it’s posted on,” said Deputy Chief Christopher Covelli with the Lake County Sheriff’s Office. “They should notify local law enforcement.”
Covelli said law enforcement needs the community’s help to prevent tragedies like the one in Illinois on Monday. Seven people were killed, and dozens more were injured after a shooting at the Highland Park July Fourth Parade.
Police said the 21-year-old accused gunman had been planning the attack for weeks.
“Law enforcement is going to do everything we can to ensure the community is kept safe, but if we don’t know about it, it’s hard for us to investigate,” Covelli said.
The holiday violence comes just months after mass shootings in New York and Texas. Those shootings pushed congress to pass legislation aimed at gun control.
Republican senators from North Carolina Thom Tillis and Richard Burr backed the bill. It includes $750 million to help states like North Carolina pay for red-flag or extreme-risk programs.
These laws vary by state, but the overall goal is to keep guns out of the hands of people who could possibly hurt themselves or others.
The laws allow law enforcement and family members to ask a judge to temporarily remove someone’s guns after determining they’re a threat.
Nineteen states and Washington D.C. have laws like this, including Illinois. More states could join that list now that the federal government is allocating resources toward red-flag laws.
Some Republican legislative leaders worry this would infringe on people’s second amendment rights.
“If you read the two pages of the 80-page bill that talks about all the due process protections, when I’m able to have that discussion, the vast majority of the people – some would not like to have anything happen – but, at the end of the conversation, they’re far less concerned than they were on the front end,” Tillis said.
In most states, the removal can last up to a year. The gun owner then has a court hearing to try to get their firearms back.
Researchers at the University of California-Davis conducted a study on the 201 gun violence restraining orders filed since California’s red-flag law was enacted three years ago.
They found about 30 percent of the cases were related to mass shooting threats and several involved minors targeting schools.