Lawmaker offers bill to keep guns from mentally ill, felons



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CHICAGO (AP) — An Illinois lawmaker has introduced legislation aimed at ensuring dangerous mentally ill people and anyone convicted of felonies or domestic violence don't have guns.

The bill submitted Friday by Rep. Greg Harris, a Chicago Democrat, also would ban people on the FBI's terrorist watch list from getting firearms, the Chicago Sun-Times reported (http://bit.ly/1Rf1N0c ).

"I hope that people would agree that folks who are severely mentally ill and folks that are on a terrorist watch list ought not to be owning weapons," said Harris. "I think that just makes sense."

Illinois already has laws that ban some mentally ill people and felons from owning guns. But Harris noted an October Sun-Times investigation found the law has done little to take firearms from those people.

Under current law, people whose Firearm Owner's Identification cards have been revoked by the state must report the disposition of their firearms to police. The Sun-Times report showed law enforcement agencies don't typically check whether they're doing so.

Harris' bill would require local police to go to court and seek a warrant to search the person's home for any guns and their FOID card if the person doesn't comply with existing law.

Democratic Rep. Brandon Phelps of Harrisburg, a supporter of gun rights who helped draft Illinois' current laws, said he still needs to review Harris' plan. But he said it's important that the legislation not intrude on the rights of gun owners who comply with regulations.

"I think Representative Harris may have great intentions on this, but I don't want any law-abiding gun owners to get caught in trap," Phelps said.

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The bill is HB4359.

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Information from: Chicago Sun-Times, http://chicago.suntimes.com/

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The Associated Press

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