Know about FRO: Firearms Restraining Order in Illinois can help save lives.
A message from Laura Williams, People for a Safer Society.
People for a Safer Society is a non-profit grassroots gun violence prevention organization that focuses on gun-violence prevention education, awareness, and advocacy. One of our current initiatives is making sure that Illinois residents are aware of FRO - a life-saving law that can help curb gun violence NOW.
As we all struggle to respond to the many challenges 2020 has brought, some challenges have become more deadly as the year has progressed.
Black and Brown people have long been disproportionately plagued by gun violence. This isn’t news. But the situation has worsened considerably since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gun sales in Illinois have greatly increased since March. With increased gun sales comes the inevitable rise in gun violence, be it domestic gun violence, suicides, homicides, or accidental shootings.
As reported by Everytown for Gun Safety, “As the coronavirus has rolled across the country, its virulent impact has not been evenly felt. Black Americans are nearly twice as likely as white Americans to die from COVID-19. They are more than four times as likely to die from firearm homicide. City gun violence has persisted even amidst shelter-in-place orders. Systemic and structural discrimination against communities of color is resulting in these communities disproportionately experiencing the deadly effects of both public health crises.”
While this double health crisis looms, we want to inform Illinois residents about the Firearms Restraining Order (FRO) which went into effect in January of 2019. This law can help to temporarily remove firearms from people who pose a danger to themselves or others.
Illinois is one of 19 states to have a law like this - sometimes called Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPO) or “red-flag laws.”
Studies have shown that these laws reduce gun violence in the states where they exist. But they only work if people use them.
Why is a FRO needed?
Some individuals in crisis and at risk of harming themselves or others may not be prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms because:
-- They haven’t been convicted of a prohibitory crime;
-- They aren’t subject to a domestic violence restraining order; or
-- They don’t meet the criteria for an involuntary hospitalization civil commitment for mental health treatment, or, if they do, family members are hesitant to commit their loved ones.
A FRO offers family members and law enforcement a judicial pathway for temporarily removing firearms and prohibiting future gun purchases. While a FRO is in effect, an individual in crisis can safely access help and care that could stop a violent situation from occurring.
Visit Speak for Safety Illinois for detailed information about how people can get a FRO by clicking here: speakforsafetyil.org
There are also downloadable and printable resources to share widely by clicking here: speakforsafetyil.org/resources.
We hope that sharing this information will help save lives in our communities.
For more information click here:
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President of People for a Safer Society