Illinois Governor Implements Emergency ‘Clear and Present Danger’ Rule to Restrict Gun Ownership and Confiscate Firearms

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker has ordered Illinois State Police (ISP) to enforce an emergency rule change that can stop residents from legally purchasing or possessing a firearm, Fox News reports.

The emergency directive was issued in response to the Highland Park shooting in which the suspected shooter was able to purchase a firearm despite a “Clear and Present Danger” report that had been filed following a 2019 incident where the individual made threats to “kill everyone,” including himself.

ISP seized 16 knives, a dagger, and a sword from the individual that year and filed the “Clear and Present Danger” report. But he was not charged with a crime.

In Illinois, a person is required to obtain a firearm owner’s identification card (FOID) prior to possessing or purchasing a gun. Gov. Pritzker released a statement explaining how the new directive will impact FOID applications.

“For the sake of public safety, any FOID applicant with prior clear and present danger information needs to have that considered when having their application processed,” he said.

“These changes will immediately allow ISP to see a fuller picture of an applicant’s history and keep the people of Illinois safe from those who should not be in possession of firearms,” he continued.

ISP was not able to lawfully deny the perpetrator’s FOID application when he applied in December of 2019. Fox News reported that the rules at that time were limited and complicated ISP’s ability to use “Clear and Present Danger” information.

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Under the new guidance, a person would have his FOID denied or revoked if a “Clear and Present Danger” report existed.

“These modifications to administrative law will immediately give the ISP the legal authority to consider more evidence when determining whether to issue or revoke a FOID card and will strengthen the ISP’s ability to keep firearms out of the hands of dangerous individuals,” said ISP Director Brendan Kelly.

Some critics believe that the emergency rule may violate the Second Amendment and the spokesman for the National Police Association, Betsy Branther Smith, told Fox News that she expects that the rule will be tested before the Supreme Court within the next two years.

Of particular concern to Smith is that the emergency rules require the ISP to confiscate firearms from individuals who are subjects of “Clear and Present Danger’ reports.

“Basically, Pritzker is tasking the Illinois State Police with gun confiscation, and that is frightening,” Smith told Fox News.

The emergency rule change will expire after 150 days. Pritzker submitted the emergency rule to the Illinois Secretary of State on Monday and it will become effective 10 days thereafter, pending approval.

For the emergency rule to remain in effect after 150 days, the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules would have to make the rule changes permanent.

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About the author: John Thomas is a U.S. Navy veteran, and a former prosecutor and defense attorney with over 20 years of experience in state and federal courts. He has handled everything from traffic tickets to first-degree murder cases and is a long-time supporter of Second Amendment rights and the rights of individuals to defend themselves, their families and their property.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • SuperG July 22, 2022, 9:09 am

    So this country has gone insane. RFPOs and Clear & Present Danger both say the same thing. “You are mentally ill, but we’re going to do nothing about that, except steal your stuff.” Bring back the ability to force someone into a psych-eval, but this time have the cops maintain a panel of 3 on-call psychiatrists to make the call and indemnify them.

  • Blue Dog (he/him) July 21, 2022, 5:20 pm

    Governor Pritzker is tweaking the system. The Highland Park exposed a weakness in the way the system works now, so Pritzker is making changes in the interest of public safety.

    We keep saying that there needs to be more efficiency in the way these disqualifications are reported, why is it a bad thing that the Governor is fixing it?

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