Looking at the Red Flag Law in Illinois

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SPRINGFIELD, ILL. (WCIA)– The Red Flag Law allows family members or police to petition to have someone’s guns removed if they are a threat to others. In Sangamon County, deputies say one incident had too many signals on display for them to not act.

“It started out as a pursuit out of Menard County and the subject ended up in his driveway in Pleasant Plains here in Sangamon County,” said Sheriff Jack Campbell.

Back in February, a Pleasant Plains man took police for a long ride that ended in a standoff.

“Eventually the subject was taken into custody without incident and a search warrant was served to his residence where seven firearms were confiscated. Then after the search warrant was sought and served against him in the jail,” Campbell said.

The Firearms Restraining Order Act allows family members of gun owners who are showing signs they may hurt themselves or others to seek court approval to remove those weapons. In this case, deputies were the ones who made the call.

“It was law enforcement that determined that it was dangerous for him to obtain weapons again because of the standoff , the threat of him harming himself or others, the time the sheriff’s office had to spend, calling out our tactical team, the hostage negotiation team, we knew he was a true threat,” said Campbell.

Campbell said the law should only be used when the threat is evident. So far, State Police said only 54 orders have been officially judged in Illinois as of the beginning of November. There are 39 valid orders right now.

There is a call for Congress to make this federal law, with support on both sides of the aisle and even garnering support from President Trump.

Opponents argue laws like these violate their Second Amendment rights but experts say precedent has already been sent under domestic violence laws like the Illinois Domestic Violence Act.

UIS Associate Professor of Legal Studies Deborah Anthony said, “In terms of the Second Amendment issue, the right is not absolute as is the case with most constitutional rights. If the person gets a protection order, as part of that order the person would be prohibited from owning firearms so that already is a remedy that exists in Illinois law.”

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