New Illinois gun law, amendments take effect Jan. 1

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CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) - Tuesday marks the new year, and the implementation of several changes to Illinois gun laws.

Three amendments expand ways to revoke a person’s FOID card and also extend the gun-purchase waiting period of rifles to 72 hours, while a new law — the Firearms Restraining Order Act — creates a process to remove firearms from a person deemed dangerous to themselves or others.

The so-called “red flag” law is meant to prevent mass shootings, suicides and domestic violence involving firearms.

The Firearms Restraining Order Act allows family members or police to request an emergency order of protection against a person who shows warning signs, such as making threats on social media.

Signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner in July, the act offers a 6-month firearm restraining order or a short-term, emergency order that can be processed in court the same day a petition is filed, without the alleged dangerous person present.

A judge must find probable cause that someone is an immediate threat to themselves or others for a firearm restraining order to be filed.

Police are responsible for executing a search warrant and seizing a person’s firearms. A person’s FOID card is suspended while an order is effective against them.

Violating the act is considered a misdemeanor offense, and records of an expired firearm restraining order are expunged after three years.

In addition to the restraining order law, three amendments take effect concerning FOID cards and gun purchases:

  • Rifle purchasers will have an increased waiting period — up from 24 hours to 72 — matching the “cooling off” period already in place for handgun purchases. Tasers and stun gun wait periods remain at 24 hours.
  • Schools, employers and places or worship will be able to file orders of protection against individuals — something previously reserved only for people. Once an order is granted, a person may have to give up their firearms and FOID card.
  • Hospitals will be required to report involuntary psychiatric admissions to state officials, who may revoke the person’s FOID card.
  • FOID card must now be renewed or denied by the state within 60 days of reapplication. If submitted before expiration, the card remains active until the application is processed.