Thousands of people with mental illnesses have been barred from owning guns in Illinois in recent years under measures put in place amid a wave of deadly mass shootings across the U.S., but the laws have done little to take guns out of their hands, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. The laws led to an explosion in the number of people deemed psychologically unfit to own a gun in Illinois. The Illinois State Police weren't tracking whether they reported what they did with their guns — a requirement under the law. The agency began to do so only a few weeks ago after being asked by Sun-Times reporters why it wasn't already doing that.
The laws also allowed for the seizure of those guns, but that seldom happens. The state police say local police are in a better position to do that. Local police, in turn, point the finger right back at the the state. As a result, despite laws that have been called among the nation's best at flagging people who shouldn't be allowed to own guns because of mental illness, authorities say they don't know how many of them remain armed.