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Firearms Restraining Order Takes Guns Away from Domestic Threats

Posted on in Family Law

Firearms Restraining Order Takes Guns Away from Domestic ThreatsLast month’s deadly shooting at Mercy Hospital in Chicago shocked many in the community, but there were warning signs of the danger that the shooter posed. His former wife, one of the victims, had received an order of protection against him before divorcing him. Court records show that she told authorities that she feared her husband could threaten her with a gun because he had slept with a gun under his pillow and once pulled the gun on a realtor. Despite that and other reported incidents in which he threatened gun violence, the man had a concealed carry license and had legally purchased four guns in the last five years. Some wonder whether a firearms restraining order could have prevented the eventual shooting.

Protection from Gun Violence

Illinois passed a law earlier this year that created a firearms restraining order. As with an order of protection, a person can petition for a firearms restraining order without the subject having been arrested or charged for a violent offense. If the court grants the order, the subject must:

  • Turn over his or her firearms, Firearm Owner’s Identification Card, and concealed carry license; and
  • Not possess any firearms for the duration of the order, which usually is six months.

A legal firearms owner living with the subject is allowed to keep his or her firearms as long as they are secured so that the subject cannot access them.

Petition Process

Filing a firearms restraining order will require the subject to immediately surrender his or her weapons, but the court will grant the actual order only if the petitioner can prove that subject is a threat to him or herself or others by possessing a firearm. The court will consider whether the subject has:

  • Recently threatened violence against others;
  • Violated an existing order of protection;
  • Previously been arrested for a felony offense; or
  • Shown a propensity for substance abuse.

When a firearms restraining order is set to expire, a petitioner can request to renew the order if the subject remains an active threat. A petitioner who knowingly makes a false report against the subject may be punished for attempting to unlawfully deny the subject’s right to own firearms.

Contact a McHenry County Family Law Attorney

A firearms restraining order may not have been able to prevent the Mercy Hospital shooting because years had passed since the woman initially filed for an order of protection against her former husband. However, the order may protect you if a family member is a threat to use a firearm in an act of violence. A Crystal Lake, Illinois, family law attorney at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, can help you file an order of protection. Schedule a free consultation by calling 815-338-3838.



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