Highland Park mayor touts city’s strict gun laws after mass shooting, points finger at Indiana, Missouri

During her appearance, Rotering called for national gun control laws to prevent “anybody from going to Missouri or Indiana…picking up whatever they want and coming back into Illinois,” despite the alleged shooter buying guns and passing background checks in her state. 

Host Joy Reid asked the mayor about “frustration over the fact that there are no existing gun laws that could have stopped this man from getting his firearm.”

FBI agents work the scene of a shooting at a Fourth of July parade on July 5, 2022 in Highland Park, Illinois. Police have detained Robert "Bobby" E. Crimo III, 22, in connection with the shooting.

FBI agents work the scene of a shooting at a Fourth of July parade on July 5, 2022 in Highland Park, Illinois. Police have detained Robert “Bobby” E. Crimo III, 22, in connection with the shooting. (Photo by Jim Vondruska/Getty Images)

“That’s been my beef all along. Every single time we’ve heard about a mass shooting, it’s always prefaced by, ‘It was legally acquired, the weapon was legally acquired.’ To me, that says we’ve been failing to pass appropriate laws for years and years and years since I don’t know when, Sandy Hook,” Rotering responded.

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She then went on to tout Highland Park having an assault weapons ban, saying, “So, let’s talk about, we as a city passed our assault weapons ban in the wake of Sandy Hook because we felt we needed to make that statement. The state of Illinois gave us a very small window in which to pass that law and so we did.”

Highland Park, Illinois, already has some of the toughest gun restrictions in the country, along with Chicago and Cook County, which also ban assault weapons.

Authorities confirmed that the shooter, Robert Crimo, legally purchased his weapon having passing four background checks in the state of Illinois since 2020. 

Law enforcement search after a mass shooting at the Highland Park Fourth of July parade in downtown Highland Park, Ill., a suburb of Chicago, on Monday, July 4.

Law enforcement search after a mass shooting at the Highland Park Fourth of July parade in downtown Highland Park, Ill., a suburb of Chicago, on Monday, July 4. (AP/Nam Y. Huh)

Although the alleged shooter legally purchased guns in Illinois, Rotering said, “But let’s be clear, it needs to be a national ban. There’s nothing to stop anybody from going to Missouri or Indiana, those are close enough places, picking up whatever they want and coming back into Illinois. So there can’t be a patchwork. Anybody who will listen to me, I’m begging you.” 

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Crimo was able to purchase guns despite the Highland Park Police Department flagging him as a “clear and present danger” in 2019 after he made threats against his family. At the time, officers confiscated over a dozen knives from Crimo before they were returned to his father the same day.

His father, also named Robert Crimo, later sponsored his application for a FOID (Firearm Owners Identification) card to purchase a gun at age 19. Illinois State Police explained that since no arrests were made in the 2019 incident and no family members issued a complaint, there was no further action.

Illinois State Police say Robert Crimo Jr. sponsored his son's application for a Firearm Owner Identification card in 2019, three years before Robert Crimo III was accused of opening fire on a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park.

Illinois State Police say Robert Crimo Jr. sponsored his son’s application for a Firearm Owner Identification card in 2019, three years before Robert Crimo III was accused of opening fire on a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park. (Facebook, Highland Park Police)

Of the idea of mental health being a problem, Rotering claimed, “It’s an issue throughout this world,” and said she was “fed up” with Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., bringing up the issue.

She called for further funding for mental health services while condemning America as uniquely plagued by shootings.

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