Under federal and state law, anyone convicted of domestic violence loses their right to legally own a gun, but there’s a push to also see that penalty extended to anyone convicted of animal abuse.
The Illinois State Crime Commission is behind the proposal. They say it would be an irrevocable, lifetime penalty for all offenders who would lose their ability to receive a Firearm Owner Identification card, eliminating their ability to purchase or own a gun in Illinois.
Jerry Elsner, executive director for the commission, is urging lawmakers to go along. He says people who injure animals, regardless of age, don’t deserve a second chance. “An animal abuser is similar to a pedophile. There really is not cure for it. It just gets worse. They pose a risk to our society.”
Some studies suggest that cruelty to animals is a precursor to other violent crime, specifically involving people. Elsner cited the Sutherland Springs, Texas shooter who claimed to buy animals online to use as "target practice" before his shooting rampage that killed 26 churchgoers.
“They almost go hand in hand. They torture animals and then they move up. They move up to the ranks of serial killers.”
Although gun rights and regulation are hot-button issues throughout the country currently, Elsner says this is not a gun issue. He calls it "a public safety issue."