ROCKFORD, Ill. – As part of his support for law enforcement officers, state Rep. Dave Vella, D-Rockford, voted to pass legislation that was signed into law by Gov. J.B. Pritzker that protects the rights of correctional officers who have sought mental health treatment to own firearms.
“Mental health treatment is important for all residents, but especially for those who work in difficult and stressful jobs, such as law enforcement,” said Vella. “It is harmful to punish correctional officers for receiving mental health treatment, and this legislation ensures they will be able to seek treatment without repercussions.”
Before the passage of Senate Bill 2249, which Vella voted in favor of, employees of the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) could have their FOID card denied, revoked, or seized for being a patient of a mental health facility. Under the new law, IDOC employees are able to apply directly to the Director of State Police to renew their FOID card if they are denied due to receiving mental health treatment.
During the previous legislative session, Vella worked to support law enforcement. He is a chief co-sponsor of the “First Responder Bill of Rights,” which provides first responders with access to behavioral health services and treatment. He also passed legislation protecting the retirement savings of first responders who switch jobs in law enforcement.
“Law enforcement officers put their lives on the line every time they put on their uniform in order to help keep us safe,” said Vella. “It is important that we are holding up our end of the bargain and providing them with the resources and support they need to do their jobs effectively. I look forward to continuing to work with the law enforcement community to address the issues they are facing.”