Illinois House advances firearm restraining order expansion

Amends provisions to ‘close loopholes’ in 2019 law

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois House on Wednesday passed a bill that would expand the scope of the Firearms Restraining Order Act and spread awareness of the law in law enforcement and the general public.

Skokie Democratic Rep. Denyse Stoneback, a freshman legislator, introduced House Bill 1092 last month in response to high profile mass shootings that took place in the U.S. earlier this year, including a shooting at an Indiana FedEx facility.

The shooter in that case had his guns seized in 2020 after his mother told authorities he was a threat to others and himself. However, because the county prosecutor in that case did not pursue a further restraining order under Indiana law, the shooter was able to purchase the two rifles he used in the crime.

Under the Illinois’ Firearm Restraining Order Act, family members of an individual and law enforcement can petition the courts to remove that individual’s guns and prevent them from purchasing or borrowing guns if it is determined that the individual would pose a threat to themself or others if they were in possession of a firearm.

Stoneback’s legislation would expand the list of family members who can file such a petition to include former spouses and people who have or allegedly have a child with the subject of the restraining order.

HB 1092 would also apply the firearm restraining order to more than just guns. If courts grant the order, under Stoneback’s bill, the individual would also be banned from purchasing or owning ammunition and weapon parts that could be assembled into a usable gun.

While the current law requires the restraining order be filed in the county where the subject of the order lives, HB 1092 would also add the option of filing the order in any county where an incident occurs involving the subject of the order where they posed a danger by owning a gun.

In a statement released Wednesday, Stoneback described the Firearm Restraining Order Act as “vastly underutilized due to lack of awareness and inconsistent legislation.”

As part of the legislation, the Illinois Department of Public Health would be required to promote awareness of firearm restraining orders, especially in relation to instances of domestic violence and mental health crises.

It also creates a commission within the State Police overseeing the implementation of the 2019 law, and mandates new annual training standards for officers on how to use and file firearms restraining orders.

Stoneback’s bill passed the House along partisan lines in a 69 to 43 vote, and now heads to the Senate for approval.

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