April 28, 2021

Durbin Delivers Remarks in Hearing on Extreme Risk Order Laws to Reduce Gun Violence

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today delivered an opening statement during a Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution hearing entitled “Stop Gun Violence: Extreme Risk Order / ‘Red Flag’ Laws”.  Durbin highlighted the deadly toll gun violence has taken in Illinois and across the nation and discussed how extreme risk order or “red flag” laws can help prevent tragedies by temporarily removing firearms from individuals deemed dangerous or mentally unstable by a court. 

Key Quotes:

“Children are being shot. A two-year-old in a car on Lake Shore Drive. A seven-year-old at a McDonald’s drive-in a week ago. It’s just out of control…and the question is when will it reach a point where we do something? Do something effective.”

“Look at what happened in Indianapolis just two weeks ago. A 19-year-old gunman murdered eight people at the FedEx facility. It was horrific. In March 2020, last year, that gunman’s mother had contacted the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department to inform them that her son’s recent firearm purchase concerned her because he had suggested he planned to threaten police with a firearm in order to provoke a shooting. The police department placed him on a temporary mental health hold and removed [a] shotgun from his possession. But, prosecutors, for reasons I don’t know, never filed an extreme risk protection order petition under Indiana’s law. In July and September, the gunman was able to buy two semi-automatic rifles which he used to commit this mass murder.”

“[Illinois] has a firearm restraining order law that took effect in 2019. The law allows family members and law enforcement to petition a court to temporarily remove firearms from an individual who presents a significant risk to himself or others…According to numbers reported by the Illinois State Police, a firearm restraining order has been issued 59 times under this Illinois law in two years, in a state of 12.7 million people. We have 2.2 million gun owners in Illinois. So clearly, this is a targeted intervention. This is not a broad sweeping thing denying due process to legal gun owners.”

“I’ve talked with law enforcement officials in Illinois who point out it takes resources to carry out these orders. They need some help. I think this is a tool. It is not the overall answer, but it’s an important tool. And in some cases it can save lives.”

“One bill is not going to solve gun violence in America. But, shame on us if we reject a common sense approach that most gun owners endorse as a way to take guns out of the hands of people who are dangerous.”

Video of Durbin’s opening statement is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s opening statement is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s opening statement is available here for TV Stations. 

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