Residents learn about Illinois’ “Red Flag” gun law

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After several mass shootings across the nation, Illinois lawmakers passed a “red flag” bill. The bill went into effect earlier this year and is meant to help get guns out of the hands of those who could pose a threat.

Thursday, The League of Women Voter’s and Moms Demand Action teamed up in honor of ‘Wear Orange Week’. It’s a week dedicated to honoring gun violence victims, supporting survivors and empowering families.

A panel discussion in Rockford about the firearms restraining order helped explained some of the new law’s details.

“If you’re concerned about a friend or family member, you can bring that to law enforcement,” said Moms Demand Action member Kristy Chorostecki. “They can investigate. They can get a firearms restraining order that will remove guns from that person for up to six months.”

In addition to preventing shootings, Moms Demand Action say the law could help prevent suicide.

“We know that suicide by gun is 85% or more successful every time someone tries,” said Chorostecki.

Among the panelists was Winnebago County State’s Attorney Marilyn Hite Ross, she says the legislation helped fill a dangerous gap.

“You don’t have to commit a crime,” said Hite Ross. “So, you’re not under that umbrella of domestic violence and order of protection but its a probable cause finding based on a petition by the court that its an emergency.”

Since the law went into effect this January, no petitions have been filed in Winnebago County.

“The State has given us another tool to combat gun violence,” said Hite Ross, “[It’s] to prevent individuals who aren’t mentally healthy and should not have a gun.”

Judge Rosemary Collins acted as the panel moderator, she says using the new law is about prevention.

“This law is designed to help people who don’t know what to do,” said Collins. “To maybe bring this to the attention of authorities to try to prevent crimes from happening.”

In honor of National Gun Violence Awareness Day on Friday, Moms Demand Action is asking everyone wear orange to honor those all impacted by gun violence.

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