HILLSDALE, Mo. (KSDK) - A police officer in Hillsdale, Missouri can't get a license to own a gun in Illinois. He tried to apply several times but the state police told him he was ineligible because of his juvenile record.
Officer Jeremy Quate was charged with residential burglary in Belleville when he was 16. He said he stole stereos and old coins from neighbors. He got involved with the wrong crowd. A judge gave him probation and a shot at a clean record if he played by the rules. He said probation was his second chance.
"I figured life was going to turn out," he said.
He followed his lifelong dream of becoming an officer. He graduated from the police academy almost two years ago. He now works for the Hillsdale Police Department. He lives in Illinois. But he can't shoot his pistol there unless he's facing a threat.
"Officers have secondary weapons that have saved police officer's lives," Quate said.
We checked with several police departments. Many officers told us they carry a second gun, usually off-duty. Quate needs a firearms owner identification card to get a gun in Illinois. It's the only state that has a FOID card. Quate says he wants to FOID card so he "can purchase weapons ammunition and practice with my weapon."
The State of Illinois won't give him a FOID card because of that felony burglary arrest. A spokeswoman for Illinois State Police told us she's not able to talk about FOID card applicants. She said Quate didn't pass a background check. You can't pass one if you have a felony. Quate said his service weapon makes him a target out of uniform. He wants a second gun to protect his wife and children on his home turf.
We checked Officer Quate's background. He has a clean criminal record, but we couldn't get his juvenile record because it's sealed. He said he can't understand why state police are considering his juvenile record if it is supposed to be sealed. The state police can't talk about the case. Quate hired a lawyer to him go through the courts to figure it out.