Gun Control Bills Signed by Illinois GOP Governor
By Doug Finke
At a ceremony in Chicago, Rauner signed House Bill 2354, the so-called "red flag" bill that allows guns to be taken away from people who pose a threat to themselves or others. He also signed Senate Bill 3256, which imposes a 72-hour waiting period to purchase all guns, not just handguns.
But while signing those two bills, Rauner said he will veto legislation that requires state regulation of gun dealers. Rauner said the legislation will impose hardships on small businesses while not doing anything to control gun violence.
Surrounded by lawmakers from both parties and law enforcement officers, Rauner signed the bill that got strong bi-partisan support in the General Assembly even though the National Rifle Association said at the last minute it opposed the legislation. The bill passed by veto-proof majorities in both the House and Senate.
The new law allows either an immediate family member or the police to go to court if they fear a person with access to guns is likely to do something violent. If the court determines the person poses a threat to himself or others, it can order the person's guns be temporarily removed by law enforcement.
"This bill can help us in certain situations possibly save people's lives," said Illinois State Police Director Leo Schmitz. "We might be able to get guns away from people that should not have them at that time."
The principal sponsor of the bill, Rep. Kathleen Willis, D-Addison, said she's been working to get it passed for four years.
"Too often we hear after shootings that there were red flags, that there were warning signs that family members saw, and they felt powerless to do anything," Willis said. "This now gives them that power. It gives them the power to be able to proactive so we can stop tragedies."
Rep. Peter Breen, R-Lombard, said evidence from other states that have enacted similar laws shows it won't be used a great deal.
"But when it's needed, it absolutely will be critical," he said. "It's a small group of situations, but it's a small group that can turn very, very deadly very quickly."
Under the legislation, if the court orders a person to surrender their guns, it is for a six-month period. However, the police and family members can seek an extension if they think a person still poses a threat.
The law allows the guns to be turned over to a family member or friend, but that family member must sign an oath not to return them until after the order expires. Willis said that is to prevent another situation like Waffle House shooter Travis Reinking whose father took away guns he owned because of strange behavior, but then returned them.
Lawmakers have not yet sent the gun dealer regulation bill to Rauner, but the governor said Monday that he'll veto it if they do.
"That bill will not increase public safety. It will increase red tape and restrictions and (be an) unnecessary burden on our small businesses in Illinois," he said.
Rauner said he also wants to see lawmakers pass some additional measures dealing with gun violence. One is to pass a ban on bump stocks, devices that greatly increase the rate of fire of guns. Bump stocks were used by the Las Vegas shooter last year. Rauner said he supports the ban and believes it has bi-partisan support in the legislature.
Rauner also said lawmakers should approve money for schools to hire resource officers and mental health professionals to deal with potential gun violence in schools.
Contact Doug Finke: email@example.com, 788-1527, twitter.com/dougfinkesjr.
(c)2018 The State Journal-Register, Springfield, Ill.