AURORA, Ill. – As part of her ongoing efforts to improve gun safety laws in Illinois, state Rep Barbara Hernandez, D-Aurora, supported legislation that strengthens Illinois’ red flag laws, known as firearm restraining orders (FRO) to allow more family members to petition the court to remove guns and ammunition from individuals who pose a threat to others or themselves.
“While we are just past the two-year anniversary of the Henry Pratt shooting that tragically took the lives of 5 members of our community, we remember and mourn that day like it was yesterday,” said Hernandez. “Plain and simple, the lives that were lost that day, those injured and our community that was left tarnished, could have been avoided had there not been exploited loopholes in the state’s firearm laws. I am working to close that loophole as well as strengthen our existing red flag laws to ensure that firearms do not get into the hands of individuals with dangerous criminal history or who post a threat to themselves or others.”
In 2018, the Firearms Restraining Order (FRO) Act passed with bipartisan support and it went to effect in January of 2019. Designed to temporarily remove firearms from individuals who pose a significant risk to themselves or others, this law has been vastly underutilized due to a lack of awareness and inconsistent implementation. Hernandez voted for House Bill 1092, which strengthens existing FRO law by allowing for additional individuals to petition the courts for a FRO, requiring annual training for law enforcement and creating a public awareness campaign on the FRO to further help victims.
House Bill 1092 is one part of Hernandez’s commitment to passing comprehensive gun safety reform in Illinois. In addition to passing this measure, Hernandez is a co-sponsor of House Bill 1091, an initiative by the Illinois Gun Violence Prevention Coalition, which is comprised of gun safety advocates and law enforcement officials who came together after the Henry Pratt shooting in Aurora to advocate for better firearm safety measures. This measure would close the background check loophole that allowed the Henry Pratt shooter to obtain a firearm legally, despite having a previous aggravated assault conviction and domestic violence charges that should have caused him to fail a background check and be denied a firearm owners identification card (FOID) from the Illinois State Police.
“We cannot afford to lose another life and wait on passing evidence-based, gun violence prevention measures that will help save lives in Illinois,” said Hernandez. “As we continue to hear of heartbreaking mass shootings and firearm related deaths across our country, I am proud to continue sponsoring these important measures.”