Illinois became a “red flag” state on Monday, as Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a bill allowing firearms to be seized from a person determined to be a danger to themselves or others — a measure opposed by the National Rifle Association.
Warning signs that could allow family members or law enforcement to request an emergency order of protection to remove firearms from a person include making threats on social media, including vowing to “end it all” or “shoot up a school” on social media.
Rep. Kathleen Willis, the Democratic House sponsor of the bill, said those are examples of red flags that were missed in past incidents.
Rauner signed the Lethal Order of Protection Act in addition to a bill requiring a 72-hour waiting period for gun purchases. He said he’ll veto a bill requiring state certification of gun dealers, however, calling it a burden on small businesses.
Reminding the room full of law enforcement officials and legislators from both parties that he is a gun owner and supporter of the 2nd Amendment, the governor said “we want to protect gun owners’ rights, but for those deemed to be dangerous, not let them have guns.”
Under the law, family members can request an emergency order, similar to the standard of a search warrant, to remove firearms on an immediate basis for a period of two weeks. There’s also a six-month removal, which requires a higher standard of evidence, to order firearms taken away for 6 months — during which the person can petition once to have them returned.
The firearm could either remain with law enforcement or remain with another family member. If the family member chooses to petition to extend the order, it would be for another six months. In addition to removing the firearms, the person’s FOID card will also be suspended.
The National Rifle Association opposed the measure, in part because of concerns about curtailing the due-process rights of gun owners, but it was passed with bipartisan support.
Former Democratic Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who now advocates for gun control after being shot in 2011, applauded Rauner’s signing the bill.
“While Congress remains silent, states like Illinois are responding to calls from Americans of all ages to do more to keep us safe,” Giffords said in a statement. But she, and other Democrats, also called on Rauner to support additional public safety legislation.
“It is the height of hypocrisy when the same governor who signed a bill to regulate catfish sales will not stand up and take commonsense steps to regulate gun sales,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement.
J.B. Pritzker said Rauner was “all ideology” and criticized him for not taking enough action in addressing the issue of gun control.
Rauner defended his plan to veto legislation requiring the licensing of gun dealers, and urged the Legislature to pass other public safety legislation, including proposals to ban bump stocks and to give schools the ability to hire more mental health workers and resource officers. He was off to Dixon in the afternoon to meet with the officer who shot and arrested a student who was firing shots at the local high school.
“That bill will not increase public safety,” Rauner said of the newest version. “It will increase red tape and restrictions, and an unnecessary burden on our small businesses in Illinois.”
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