The Illinois Senate approved a bill Feb. 28 with a goal of preventing potentially dangerous individuals from harming themselves or endangering others with a firearm.
The bill, which was co-sponsored by state Sen. Chris Nybo, R-Elmhurst, establishes the the Lethal Violence Order of Protection Act, which allows family members, acquaintances or law enforcement to petition the court to identify and issue an ex parte order for an individual who poses an immediate and present danger of causing personal injury to him or herself or another with a firearm, according to a Senate Republican Staff news release.
The act, which now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration, would establish a number of factors and types of evidence the court must consider before issuing a lethal violence order of protection, the release stated.
“In some cases of these tragic shootings we’ve seen, family members and people who knew the shooter noticed signs of unstable or reckless behavior,” Nybo said in the release. “The Lethal Violence Order of Protection Act creates an official process and outlet for anyone to speak up, identify and prevent a troubled individual from hurting themselves or committing a horrifying act. It’s my hope we can begin to stop future tragedies before they start.”
The legislation aims to help identify individuals who display signs of dangerous behavior and remove their FOID card and any firearms in their possession prior to a possible shooting, the release stated. It also outlines suspicious behavior that may not be covered under traditional protective orders, according to the release. The legislation provides a process by which an individual receives a due process hearing to answer the sworn allegations put forth against them in court.
“With help from the public in identifying dangerous individuals, this initiative allows for law enforcement to temporarily remove the individual’s FOID card and firearms until the court determines they are no longer a present danger to others,” Nybo said. “It’s a preventative measure that could save lives in Illinois."
State Sen. John Curran, R-Downers Grove, also voted in support of the bill, according to another news release about the bill.
"When we hear news of terrible, tragic shootings, families and students grow increasingly concerned and wonder how it could be prevented," Curran said in the release. "In some cases, those close to the offender have said there were warning signs. ... I am supporting several commonsense public safety measures that have been filed in the General Assembly, and all members of the Senate and House need to work together in a collaborative manner for the betterment of everyone's safety."