Illinois Gun Laws: What You Need to Know About Firearm Restraining Orders

According to Everytown for Gun Safety, Illinois ranks seventh in the country for the strength of its gun laws. Illinois has laws regarding Firearm Restraining Orders (FRO), which are known as “Extreme Risk Protection Orders” or “Red Flag Laws” in other states. FROs are civil orders that are designed to prevent firearm injury by temporarily removing firearms from individuals who pose a danger to themselves or others.

When Can a Firearm Restraining Order Be Issued?

There are several circumstances that may warrant issuing a firearm restraining order, including any of the following and more:

  • Waving a firearm
  • Threatening use of a firearm
  • Violating an order of protection

Unlike laws that prohibit firearm possession based on an individual’s mental health history or criminal record, FROs are temporary and require immediate observable actions and behavior, which may not be criminal in nature. FROs are a tool for preventing firearm violence that is based on an individual’s present behavior, not whether an individual has a mental health diagnosis.

Types of Firearm Restraining Orders in Illinois

There are two types of FROs in Illinois:

Emergency FROs can be requested and granted on the same day and last up to 14 days. The respondent is not present for the hearing; the petitioner must demonstrate to a judge that there is an immediate threat of danger if the respondent has access to firearms. Once granted, law enforcement executes a search warrant to immediately remove the firearms, ammunition, firearm parts, and Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) card.

Six-month FROs may be issued if the threat of violence is not immediate. They are valid for six months and can be renewed. If an Emergency FRO was filed and approved first, then there is a full court hearing while the emergency FRO is in effect, and the respondent can attend. Petitioners must meet the burden of “clear and convincing” evidence of the danger the respondent poses if he/she has access to firearms.

To learn more about Firearm Restraining Orders and your rights, speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney.