Illinois Firearms Restraining Order Act is topic of forum

LA GRANGE PARK – The Illinois Firearms Restraining Order Act will be the topic of a Sept. 18 program sponsored by The League of Women Voters in La Grange.

The law, which allows family, household members – including roommates – and local law enforcement to petition for a court order to temporarily remove firearms from any individual exhibiting behavior that could lead to danger for themselves or others, went into effect Jan. 1.

The event, “IL Firearms Restraining Order; Making Our Communities Safer,” aims to educate people on how the order could reduce gun-related suicide and domestic violence incidents, according to a news release.

“If someone is suicidal, hopefully the family can recognize that and can immediately go to law enforcement to temporarily remove any firearms they may own,” said Mary Klonowski, the League of Women Voters’ gun violence specialist in Illinois. “We want to make sure people are aware of this law and can learn how they can take the steps needed to take advantage of it.”

She added that the event will teach people how to file a court order and offer insight into suicidal tendencies in an attempt to recognize when a family member may need help early on.

The event will feature two speakers from Speak for Safety Illinois: Mark Jones, a retired ATF agent and the community outreach coordinator for law enforcement training, and Peter Contos, the community outreach coordinator for local communities.

Maryann Quinlan, a volunteer at Moms for Action for nearly six years who focuses on group membership, said she hopes that the information Jones and Contos provide will clarify confusing aspects of the bill.

“There are 101 questions in a dangerous situation that you might not think about,” Quinlan said. “We’re hoping [Jones and Contos] provide some honest answers and maybe some I’m not so sures, but then here are the tools so you can be aware of what the law is supposed to do to help protect yourself and others.”

To promote the event, volunteers have been reaching out to prominent community officials, such as local police chiefs, superintendents and pastors. The initiative, which has involved more than 30 volunteers from 11 communities, is intended to strengthen the communicative bonds between community members and leaders while spreading knowledge of the law.

“It’s not all cut and dry,” Quinlan said. “There’s a lot of local involvement and local responsibility, and every locality is a little different in terms of what the process might be.”

If you go:

What: IL Firearms Restraining Order; Making Our Communities Safe

Where: Lyons Township High School, South Campus Performing Arts Center, 100 S Brainard Ave., La Grange

When: 7-8:30 p.m. Sept. 18

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