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Gun Restraining Order Bill Passes Illinois House, Latest in String of Gun Legislation

Mitch Barrie via Flikr

State lawmakers are continuing to push Illinois gun legislation in the wake of a recent run of mass shootings. The Illinois House approved a measure Wednesday that would allow police to take guns away from someone if a court finds them dangerous.

Police say they might be able to prevent mass shootings — but current law does not give them the power to take guns from someone who shouldn’t have them.

The legislation would let them ask a court to issue a gun restraining order. Friends and family of gun owners could make the same request. If a judge agrees, police could hold on to the guns for up to six months.

The measure had bipartisan support. State Representative Steve Reick (R, Woodstock) says it’s something Governor Bruce Rauner should support, too.

“We’re gonna send him as good a bill as there is in the United States," he said. "I think he should be able to sign this and feel good about doing so.”

State Representative Kathleen Willis (D, Addison) is behind the proposal.

“If we can save some lives, that’s what we wanna do," she told the House floor Wednesday. "I think it’s gonna do a lot of good. This is just something we need to do now, and if we could have families do it without this, that’d be great. But this is just another tool we need.”

Rauner backed the concept as part of a broader package that also included reviving the death penalty.

Separately, an aide told a House committee that Rauner would sign a standalone version of a different part of his package — a 72-hour waiting period for purchasing firearms.

Asked about the waiting period, a spokeswoman for the governor urged legislators to support his entire gun-control package. But she did call the order of protection a “significant step” and said the governor’s office would review the legislation.

Sam is a Public Affairs Reporting intern for spring 2018, working out the NPR Illinois Statehouse bureau.
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