• Ben Szalinski
    JAN 25, 2024


    Lawmakers renew push for Karina’s Bill, frustrated by inaction in 2023  

    Rep. Marua Hirshaurer (D-Batavia) speaks at a news conference in Chicago on Wednesday. [Ben Szalinski/The Daily Line]

    With two headline-grabbing domestic violence shootings in the last week, lawmakers and advocates are renewing calls for a bill to close what they believe is a loophole in state law that has allowed accused domestic abusers to keep guns even after an order of protection is issued.  

    The lawmakers are supporting a plan known as Karina’s Bill — SB2633 sponsored by Sen. Celina Villanueva (D-Chicago) and HB4469 sponsored by Rep. Maura Hirschauer (D-Batavia) — that allows a search warrant to be issued to take firearms from a person served an order of protection for domestic violence and who owns guns, legally or illegally. 

    The problem, according to advocates and lawmakers, is that even when a person is served an order of protection for domestic violence and the victim has asked that their abuser’s guns be taken from them, there isn’t a mechanism in state law that enforces that requirement. They say it’s leaving guns in the hands of dangerous abusers, who are using them against their domestic partner who sought the order of protection.   

    “The heart of the issue is, as we’ve seen, ... the inconsistency in the current statute,” Hirschauer said at a news conference in Chicago Wednesday. “It’s being used differently in courtrooms across the state.”  

    If passed, the bill would allow judges to grant search warrants for guns to be taken at the same time they issue an order of protection.   


    This spring will be the third attempt at passing legislation. The House initially passed HB676 in May on a 70-36 vote, but it was not taken up by the Senate in the final days of the extended session. The bill dealt with several components of Illinois’ gun laws, but most significantly with new mechanisms to remove guns from domestic violence situations. Advocates renewed calls for passing the new Senate version of the bill during the fall veto session, but it didn’t move.   

    “The bills we pass in Springfield have real life and death consequences and failing to pass a version of Karina’s Bill in May of 2023, we failed Karina Gonzalez, her daughter Danielle, son Manny, and her niece Monica, and her whole family,” Hirschauer said.   

    Karina Gonzalez and her daughter Danielle, who were Little Village residents, were shot and killed in July 2023 by Gonzalez’s husband in a domestic violence incident after she had asked for an order of protection.  

    “Unfortunately, the lack of urgency and implementation is costing lives,” said Gonzalez’s cousin, Maria Alvarev  

    Advocates pointed to recent news-making incidents of domestic violence calls for lawmakers to act with urgency. A Tinley Park man murdered his wife and three daughters over the weekend in a shooting, though the man at the time was a legal gun owner with no criminal history. And then a Joliet man shot nine people, eight fatally, and police say he was related to many of the victims and was out on bond for prior gun-related charges. And then there was a shooting last fall of an Illinois State trooper in Springfield by a man suspected of killing his partner in Chicago.   

    “Without this law, the state of Illinois is putting a target on the backs of domestic violence survivors,” said Yolanda Androzzo, executive director of One Aim Illinois.   

    Lawmakers are also frustrated they haven’t been able to get the bill started in the legislative process.   

    “I woke up tired because every single moment that I wake up to news every single day … to another situation that could have been prevented by us acting in the Illinois legislature is another day my heartbreaks,” Villaneuva said.   

    Rep. La Shawn Ford (D-Chicago) added he wants Gov. JB Pritzker to announce his support for the bill before lawmakers send it to his desk. A spokesperson for Pritzker said he will review any bill that reaches his desk.  

    The hold up is over ongoing negotiations with various stakeholders, according to Maralea Negron, director of policy for The Network. No significant changes have been made to the bill since the fall because of negotiations either.   

    A key issue Republicans raised in May was a requirement in HB676 that the sheriff’s office hold the seized guns, potentially for years.   

    “All of our evidence lockers right now are overflowing full,” Rep. Dennis Tipsword (R-Metamora), who is also a chief deputy sheriff in Woodford County, said during debate in May. “There is no room to put things. Is there any money in this for local sheriffs’ offices to expand their evidence rooms to hold these firearms?”     

    Police organizations did not file for or against the first bill. The latest version of the bill, Hirschauer’s, allows police to have agreements with federally licensed firearm dealers to store seized guns.  

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