Families, police can seek to distance potentially dangerous people from their firearms

SadnessPEORIA – A new state law that allows authorities to put temporary distance between potentially volatile people and their firearms contains checks to balance individual rights with public safety, State Senator Dave Koehler said today.

The measure, known as a red-flag or lethal order of protection law, was signed Monday. It enables family members and police to alert a judge if they believe a person with access to a firearm could pose a danger to themselves or to the public. If the judge agrees, the court can require firearms to be temporarily removed from the person’s possession.

It passed the General Assembly with bipartisan support.

“This law is a preventative measure that balances the gun owner’s right to due process with the public’s right to be safe from violence,” said Koehler, a Peoria Democrat. “Illinois is empowering families to step in before a loved one causes suffering and destruction that can never be undone. It’s also acknowledging gun owners’ concerns by requiring a burden of evidence before firearms can be removed.”

Under the new law, which goes into effect Jan. 1, 2019, a family member or law enforcement officer must present clear and convincing evidence that a person poses a significant personal or public danger by having access to a firearm.

If a judge agrees, the court will issue a firearm restraining order that requires the person in question to temporarily relinquish his or her firearms and FOID card to law enforcement. The person also will be barred from purchasing or possessing additional firearms during the restraining period.

Anyone who provides false information in seeking an order would be guilty of perjury.

The legislation is House Bill 2354.

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floor speakingSPRINGFIELD – Having already shutdown the state budget process, Gov. Bruce Rauner is now walking away from labor talks with the state’s largest employee union.

On Friday, his office said there is an impasse in negotiations, even though labor groups claim they are willing to keep working toward a compromise.

“The Governor's asking for an impasse to be declared by the labor board is disappointing. If this is a step to force a last and best offer on state workers, it will add even more chaos to state government,” said State Senate Dave Koehler (D-Peoria). “This is why I supported SB1229 – to engage both sides into interest arbitration as a way to settle the labor contract with AFSCME. Interest arbitration has been used successfully with police and firefighters in Illinois for many years, and would offer a reasonable way to end this dispute.”

Though the Rauner administration has contended it has reached settlements with all other unions representing state employees, in fact, no settlements have been reached with the six other unions representing more than 25,000 state employees, including state troopers and thousands of child and home health care providers.

“What we don't need is to force state workers out on strike. The situation with not having a budget is bad enough. Let's not make things worse,” said Koehler. “Compromise is hard work. I urge all involved to look for ways either through arbitration or mediation, to resolve the differences between the administration and the union.”

According to AFSCME, this past week, the union presented three separate proposals to the State, in which wages and health care were modified to better align with the administration’s framework, and an IDOC proposal was altered to create a joint labor-management committee to improve rehabilitative opportunities for inmates.

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SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) issued the following statement about the passing of Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka:

"Illinois has lost a giant. Judy Baar Topinka was unique among elected officials. She had an independent spirit that was refreshing. People on both sides of the aisle had great respect for her. In a time when bipartisanship is so sorely needed, she will indeed be missed."

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outdoorsannc102714State Senator Dave Koehler joined representatives from the governor's office, Fulton County and the Spoon River Partnership for Economic Development to announce that the Illinois Department of Natural Resources is opening nearly 4,400 acres for new hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities.

The land is part of 14,000 acres that the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago purchased in 1970 to dispose of safe, non-toxic debris by restoring strip-mined land. Today, the site is home to a healthy herd of deer, wild turkey, quail, waterfowl and more.

"One of Illinois' best-kept secrets is that Fulton County has amazing lakes, rivers and other outdoor spaces. To people in Fulton County, it's not a secret," said State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria). "I hope that this expanded public recreation area will not only be a great resource to local residents, but also bring outdoors enthusiasts to the area who will spend money and help support the local economy. I want to thank Governor Quinn and everyone else who helped make this vision a reality."

The new recreation area will complement the existing Fulton County Camping and Recreation Area by giving visitors even more opportunities for outdoor recreation. In addition to the campsite and recreation area managed by the county government, the area is home to Banner Marsh, Rice Lake, and Anderson Lake State Fish and Wildlife Areas.

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Contact Info

Springfield Office:
323B Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-8250

Peoria Office:
400 NE Jefferson, Suite 200
Peoria, IL 61603
(309) 677-0120