Legislation that Removes Firearms from Individuals who Pose an Immediate Threat Receives Broad Bipartisan Support in IL House

By a vote of 80-32-1, today the House of Representatives took a significant step toward improving public safety by approving a method through which family members or law enforcement can seek an emergency “firearms restraining order” to remove firearms from individuals posing an immediate threat to themselves and/or others. State Representative Peter Breen (R-Lombard) was the leading Republican negotiator for the bill and is a Chief Co-Sponsor.

“This bill is an example of how we can produce great legislation if we work in a bipartisan manner,” said Breen. “These acts of senseless violence are all too often committed by individuals who have shown signs that they are mentally unstable and interested in causing harm to themselves or others. This tightly-worded legislation preserves Second Amendment rights while putting protections in place to help curb mass shootings by mentally unstable individuals. It was an honor to help write this bill.”

Through HB 2354, family members or law enforcement who petition for an emergency order must show that the respondent poses an immediate and present danger of causing harm to themselves or others. If probable cause is established through a court hearing, the judge will enter an order that will allow the Illinois State Police (ISP) to suspend or revoke the Firearms Owner Identification card of the respondent and, if necessary, issuing a search warrant to remove any firearms from the person’s residence.

The respondent must be given a full hearing within 14 days, where it must be proven by strict clear and convincing evidence that the person is dangerous. If so, the emergency order is extended to a six-month order, which may be renewed on continued proof of danger. But if the allegations are not proven at the full hearing, the record of the case is expunged, so as not to do any harm to an innocent respondent. Strict penalties for perjury would also apply to those who would falsely swear out a petition for a firearms restraining order.

“Current law does not have any provisions that allow family members or police officers to take steps to remove firearms from those who would use them to cause harm,” Breen said. “This bill is the best of its type in the country. I believe it will become the national model. I applaud my colleagues for passing it and hope for bipartisan support in the Senate and favorable action by Governor Rauner.

Click here to hear Breen speak about the bill on the House floor.

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