Rauner signs laws allowing mental health gun seizures, extending waiting period

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DIXON, Ill.  — Gov. Bruce Rauner signed multiple gun control measures into law Monday as he pushed for a solution to school shootings in stops around the state.

While in Chicago, Rauner signed one gun control measure that allows police or family members to prove in court that a person with guns is suffering from mental health or other problems and threatening harm. Weapons could be surrendered for up to six months.

Democratic Rep. Kathleen Willis of Addison says her bill answers incidents such as the Parkland, Florida shooting, after which people declare there were warning signs that were not heeded.

At an event in Dixon, IL, Rauner was joined by Mark Dallas, the Dixon High School resource officer hailed as a hero for stopping a student who had planned to shoot up the school during a graduation rehearsal. Dallas called on the legislature to respond to the issue of school shootings just as he did: quickly.

“Within seconds of the first gunshot, I responded. A rapid response to the threat of a school shooting was the only thing that prevented a slaughter where we now stand.” Dallas said. “There is no time to spare when children’s lives are at risk, but today the threat of a school shooting remains just as real.”

Now the governor is pushing for a new state law that would give schools the option of adding a police officer and a mental health professional, paid for with state sales tax money currently earmarked for school facilities.

"Every school, every teacher, every principal and every student in the state deserves to be safe,” Gov. Rauner said. “We need to make sure that those schools that would like to have a resource officer like Officer Dallas have the ability to get one – and be able to pay for it.”

Congress has done virtually nothing to address the problem of school shootings, and Gov. Rauner says the states can fill the void.

“I do believe that states can lead the way,” Rauner said.

Rauner also signed a law Monday extending a 72-hour waiting period for all guns, not just handguns. The bill to bring resource officers to more schools remains stalled in Springfield, which Gov. Rauner blames on House speaker Mike Madigan. Rauner also called on lawmakers to reinstate the death penalty for anyone convicted of killing an officer.

“What’s important is that we do the right thing for the people of Illinois. This was done on a bipartisan basis. It’s a good step forward," Gov. Rauner said. "I’m an advocate for the second amendment; I’m a gun owner. I believe this bill protects constitutional rights while increasing public safety.”

The governor did veto a gun control measure that would have required the licensing of gun shops, a measure that he characterized as red tape for small businesses.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel called that veto, “bizarre, inexcusable and downright dangerous to the public.”

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