State Rep. David McSweeney (R-Barrington Hills) has introduced legislation to give law enforcement a legal mechanism to proactively pursue people deemed to be a danger to themselves and others.
The legislation is specifically aimed at ensuring that mentally ill persons are prevented from obtaining and keeping firearms.
House Bill 5849 allows a circuit court to issue a warrant to search for and seize a firearm in the possession of a person who is believed to pose a clear and present danger to themselves or to others under certain conditions. First, a law enforcement officer must provide the court a sworn affidavit about why seizing the firearm is necessary. Second, the affidavit must specifically describe the location of the firearm; and third, the circuit court must determine that there is probable cause to believe that the person poses a clear and present danger to themselves or to others and is in possession of a firearm.
The legislation also requires the court to have a hearing within 14 days of receiving a complaint. The hearing will determine if the firearm should be returned to the person from whom it was seized or retained by the law enforcement agency with custody of the firearm.
“There is a line we can walk between common sense gun safety, regulatory measures, and respect for the U.S. Constitution,” McSweeney said. “Instead of enacting broad legislation that adversely affects responsible gun owners, we need to focus on the individuals who are committing heinous crimes. We need to give law enforcement agencies the tools they need to help prevent potentially dangerous individuals from the unnecessary risk of harm to themselves or others with a firearm. We can do that while maintaining a respect for an individual’s Second Amendment rights and that is exactly what my legislation does.”
Rep. McSweeney has also filed legislation, House Bill 5847, to establish murder committed as a result of the intentional discharge of a firearm as an aggravating factor in sentencing for first-degree murder.
"The answer to Illinois' gun violence is not to take away Second Amendment rights from law-abiding residents, but to enhance the penalties on those who willfully and shamefully use guns to commit crimes," Rep. McSweeney continued.
HB 5849 and HB 5847 have been introduced and await assignment to a legislative committee.