Wheeler, Raoul Partner to Advance Bipartisan Public Safety Legislation

Following the violent attack in Parkland Florida last month, it has become clear it could have been prevented had the school had the ability to petition the court for protection. Recognizing this reality, State Representative Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) and State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago) began crafting bipartisan legislation to address a similar gap in Illinois law. Along with the help of Lake County Circuit Court Judge Joseph Salvi, Senate Bill 3411 (same as House Bill 5829) would allow a school, place of worship or workplace to seek protection.

“Even though we already have specific rules in place to keep firearms out of the hands of someone who may be suffering from a potentially dangerous mental health problem or who has exhibited signs of violent behavior, a gap currently exists in our law. This legislation helps us close that gap and improve public safety,” said Rep. Wheeler. “I want to thank Senator Raoul for carrying this legislation in the Senate, as well as Lake County Judge Joseph Savli for helping us find a solution to address this issue.”

Specifically, Senate Bill 3411 updates Illinois’ Stalking No Contact Order to allow a school, church or workplace to petition the court if they have a legitimate concern that a person poses a danger. Current law only allows an individual to petition the court in this way. This will allow a judge to temporarily restrict access to firearms of someone who is deemed a danger and allow for a mental health evaluation. Such a law could have prevented the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, as the shooter was expelled from the school for violent behavior.

“Passing this legislation is evidence of our capacity to work in a bipartisan and bicameral fashion to enact commonsense measures that protect our citizens in schools, places of worship and businesses,” said Sen. Raoul following the advancement of the legislation through the Senate criminal law committee today. The legislation now heads to the whole Senate for a vote before it can be taken up by the House.

For additional information about SB 3411, visit: http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/billstatus.asp?DocNum=3411&GAID=14&GA=100&DocTypeID=SB&LegID=111366&SessionID=91. For HB 5829, visit: http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/BillStatus.asp?DocTypeID=HB&DocNum=5829&GAID=14&SessionID=91&LegID=112077.

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