Some studies suggest that cruelty to animals is a precursor to other violent crime, specifically involving people. The most recent example: the Sutherland Springs, TX, shooter who claimed to buy animals online for “target practice” prior to killing 26 people in a church.
This correlation has the Illinois State Crime Commission wanting to see anyone convicted of animal abuse also lose their right to own a firearm in Illinois. Jerry Elsner, the Executive Director for the Illinois State Crime 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 a cure for it. It just gets worse. They pose a risk to our society," he said. The group’s proposal includes a lifetime penalty for offenders. Elsner says this is not a gun issue, but a public safety issue.