Attorney General Kwame Raoul was joined today by Illinois State Police (ISP) Director Brendan F. Kelly, law enforcement representatives and gun safety advocates to announce a new state-of-the-art online platform to assist law enforcement agencies in investigating gun crimes and identifying the sources of illegal guns. Raoul announced the new platform – dubbed Crime Gun Connect – at a press conference this morning in Chicago.
“Crime Gun Connect will allow law enforcement agencies around Illinois to access critical crime-gun trace records more efficiently than ever before, giving them a new tool in their fight against gun violence,” Raoul said. “This new platform will digitize gun tracing records that today must be requested on paper, slowing investigations and hampering efforts to bring justice to victims. I would like to thank Everytown for their work in the development of this critical state-of-the-art resource.”
Crime Gun Connect was developed in collaboration with the Illinois State Police and Everytown for Gun Safety and will provide law enforcement agencies with more information to improve the quality and quantity of leads in gun crime investigations. With federal law preventing crime-gun records from being digitized, records that are essential to criminal investigations are still stored in paper form, leaving law enforcement to request tracing data that must be found by sorting through paper records.
“To solve crimes committed using firearms, we are turning more and more towards technology and increasing information sharing opportunities to help expand the reach and coordination of law enforcement agencies and the justice system,” said ISP Director Brendan F. Kelly. “ISP created a portal that has grown over the years into a one-stop-shop where law enforcement can get intelligence for crime-gun related enforcement, and now includes the Crime Gun Connect tool.”
The searchable, digital database Raoul announced today contains over 100,000 crime gun trace records dating back to 2009 from approximately 200 Illinois law enforcement agencies. With more than 60% of firearms recovered from Illinois crime scenes originating out of state, the new platform is essential in monitoring gun trafficking trends and addressing gun violence.
The platform is available to law enforcement agencies across Illinois that are enrolled in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives’ (ATF) eTrace system and have opted in to collective data sharing through eTrace. Collective data sharing allows law enforcement agencies to share crime-gun trace records with other participating law enforcement agencies in Illinois. The Attorney General’s office has used these records to build Crime Gun Connect.
“Attorney General Raoul is a leader in the fight against illegal guns, which too often come across state lines from states with weak gun laws,” Nick Suplina, senior vice president of law and policy at Everytown for Gun Safety said. “This innovative new tool will allow Illinois law enforcement to look upstream, understand where crime guns are coming from, and stop those guns from bringing devastation to our communities.”
Crime Gun Connect is an investigative tool accessible only by Illinois law enforcement officials. However, Raoul’s office also introduced a free online resource to allow the public to access crime-gun data. Visitors to the website can access data related to crime-guns traced in Illinois since 2010, over the last year and over the last 30 days. The website provides aggregate totals of crime-gun recoveries by region and illustrates how many of those firearms were first sold by out-of-state retailers. The site can be accessed through the Attorney General’s website.
Today’s announcement is the latest effort by Raoul to address gun violence in communities throughout Illinois. Raoul has collaborated with local law enforcement and to combat gun trafficking and used the office’s jurisdiction to prosecute multi-county gun trafficking offenses. Raoul has also worked with law enforcement agencies to address gaps in Illinois’ firearms licensing system and continues to prosecute individuals who lie on FOID card applications. Raoul previously also partnered with Everytown for Gun Safety in a lawsuit against the ATF for issuing a federal firearm license to an unscrupulous arms manufacturer. The ATF revoked the license as a result.
***Courtesy of the Illinois Attorney General***