Legislators Broaden “Clear and Present Danger” Criteria for Firearm Licenses

In the wake of the Highland Park shooting, Illinois legislators are hoping to close the gap in the red flag laws that allowed the suspect to get a firearms permit despite previous signs of emotional instability and run-ins with the police in 2019. When the suspect filed an application for a FOID card three months after the police confiscated knives and a sword from his apartment, the government had no basis on which to deny the application because no criminal charges had been pursued against him at the time.

Illinois state legislators are hoping to change that by increasing the scope of red flag laws in the state. The legislation hopes to broaden the definition of “clear and present danger” to prevent unstable individuals from becoming gun owners. If you are a gun owner, it is important to pay attention to the changing legal landscape surrounding gun laws. If you have questions about how these changes impact you as a legal gun owner, turn to an experienced legal advocate you can trust.

Changes to Gun Laws in Illinois

Prior to 2013, anyone with the proper qualifications could deem a potential FOID applicant a “clear and present danger” based on a communicated threat from the applicant to harm themselves or someone else (a credible target). The state could likewise deny an applicant an FOID card on the basis of past violent behavior, including threats of violence or suicide.

In 2013, the statutory language was changed to exclude anyone who was not an imminent or immediate threat to themselves or others. In addition, those presenting evidence against a FOID card applicant now needed to establish that the applicant was likely to act on the alleged threats.

The proposed new rules seemingly revert to the old standard used prior to 2013. The matter is subject to review in August of 2022, and legislators are hoping to make the reversion back to the pre-2013 standard permanent.

Can Parents be Held Responsible for Child’s Gun Crimes?

A second bill is being co-sponsored by a Republican and a Democrat which would hold parents criminally liable for damages if they sponsor an FOID card for a minor who then commits an act of gun violence. Sponsorship by an adult is required for FOID applicants under the age of 21. The suspect was 19 at the time his father sponsored his FOID card application. The new legislation would hold the Highland Park shooter’s parent criminally liable for that sponsorship.

It remains unclear whether or not the new statute can be enforced retroactively. The law has yet to be passed, so there is much we do not yet know. Parents who are considering sponsoring their children for FOID cards should exercise caution at this time. Of course, if you have questions regarding your legal gun ownership, or your children’s, reach out to an experienced attorney for help.

Talk to a Chicago Weapons Charges Attorney Today

If you need representation for a criminal charge in Cook County, Glasgow & Olsson is uniquely qualified to help. When you need an attorney, experience matters. Contact us today to learn how our experience can get you the results you deserve.

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