State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) joined Governor Bruce Rauner today for the signing of legislation that will help prevent people who are a threat to themselves or others from possessing or purchasing guns. HB 2354, which received bipartisan support in the House and Senate, was signed in Chicago at a ceremony attended by Democrat and Republican lawmakers and representatives from several branches of law enforcement. Reick was a Chief Co-Sponsor of the bill.
“The legislation signed into law today addresses the growing problem of unstable people using guns to cause harm, while also protecting gun owners’ rights,” said Reick. “The firearms restraining order bill that was sent to us by the Senate represented an extreme overreach into the civil liberties and Constitutional rights of law-abiding gun owners. It also lacked adequate due process for the individuals from whom firearms would be removed. I was pleased to work with the Chief sponsor of the bill to create language that helps remove guns from mentally unstable individuals without trampling on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners.”
Through HB 2354
, family members or law enforcement can petition the court for an emergency firearms restraining order. There then must be a hearing as soon as possible but no later than 14 days requesting a six-month restraining order at which time the respondent will have the right to attend and respond. The standard of proof for an emergency order is probable cause that the respondent poses an immediate and present danger of causing injury to themselves or others by owning or having access to firearms. If probable cause is found, the court will issue an emergency firearms restraining order and shall issue a warrant directing law enforcement to search the respondent’s property and seize his/her firearms. At that point, the Illinois State Police (ISP) will have the authority to suspend the respondent’s Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) Card and concealed carry license.
If an emergency firearms order of protection is issued, the respondent is guaranteed the right to a full hearing, at which time it must be proven by clear and convincing evidence that the person poses a danger to him/herself or others. 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 are also written into the bill that provide for penalties of perjury for any individual who would falsely swear out a petition for a firearms restraining order.
“I believe this negotiated bill is the best of its kind in the nation,” said Reick. “It is already being viewed as a national model.”