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State Lawmakers Approve Gun Restraining Orders

via Flikr

Illinois lawmakers on Wednesday voted to make it easier to try to take guns from someone a court determines is dangerous. Supporters say “lethal order of protections” could prevent mass shootings.

Police, family members, or friends of a violent person could ask a court to take away his or her guns for up to six months. In order to address concerns about false reporting, supporters say anyone who wants one of these orders has to first swear to a court that they’re telling the truth about a person, and would be punished if they lie.

Opponents, like Republican state Senator Jason Barickman, of Bloomington, say it goes too far.

“When we start enabling third parties, who aren’t charged with a constitutional duty, it gives us concerns that the due process rights of individuals could be diminished," he explained.

The legislation passed on a bipartisan vote of 43 to 11. Democratic state Senator Bill Haine, from Alton, voted yes, despite reservations about giving this sort of power to family members.

“It’s an area which must be addressed, with these terrible shootings and incidents," he told the Senate during a debate.

The measure also aims to preventing another Waffle House-style shooting, with penalties for anyone who tries to return guns to a dangerous person. Governor Bruce Rauner has expressed support for the concept when it was part of a broader package. But he’s vetoed other stand-alone gun bills this year.

The Illinois House also approved three-day waiting periods on all gun purchases, another Rauner proposal. That measure still has to get through the state Senate.

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