Domestic Violence Victims in Illinois Could Have Faster Access to Guns

Hannah Hess
April 12, 2011

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — A woman who has obtained an order of protection against her spouse would be exempt from the 72-hour waiting period Illinois currently applies to firearm sales, under a measure approved by the state House Tuesday.

It typically takes two weeks for courts to issue orders of protection in cases of abuse or harrassment among family members. State Rep. David Harris, R-Mt. Prospect, said waiving the waiting period would help protect domestic violence victims from “court hearings that may rekindle emotions.”

Even if the proposal becomes law, those wishing to buy firearms would still need a valid FOID card.

Opponents of the bill argued that removing the 72-hour waiting period in situations where tensions and emotions are running high could only cause more trouble.

The measure would create a “loophole to already porous gun laws,” said state Rep. Will Burns, D-Chicago, one of the 34 lawmakers who voted against the proposal. Burns also expressed concern that the state’s Coalition Against Domestic Violence had not weighed in on the proposal.

Family members can seek orders of protection against one another in cases of abuse or harassment. A law that went into effect last year gave the State Police authority to revoke the FOID card of any person against whom an order of protection has been filed.
The waiting period exemption approved by the House Tuesday now heads to the state Senate.

-The bill is HB3499.