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Get the word out about this state law

Thursday, Oct 17, 2019

* Sun-Times

Two months before a 66-year-old man went on a deadly shooting spree at a condo building in Dunning, police responded to the same complex when the accused gunman allegedly assaulted the son of one of the victims of Saturday’s rampage.

The suspect, identified as Krysztof Marek, was charged Monday with five counts of first-degree murder, according to the Cook County state’s attorney’s office. He was denied bail during his initial court hearing.

Sergio Macias, who manages the building in the 6700 block of West Irving Park, said Marek allegedly punched Jolanta Topolska’s son in the face on Aug. 3. Macias noted that police were then summoned to the building. […]

Even before the incident in August, Marek’s strange behavior had unnerved some of his neighbors.

* Sun-Times editorial

What can we do about a man who, according to a woman who lived nearby, was “always very friendly” until about six months ago “when he snapped”? A man who allegedly punched the son of one of the victims two and a half months ago, on Aug. 3?

Until recently, very little.

But Illinois now has a new “red flag” law, enacted in 2018, that gives neighbors and others a potentially effective tool. They can report the behavior to local police, who can check with state police to see if the person has a gun card. Then, based on further investigation, the police can petition to temporarily remove firearms from the home as long as that person is a danger to himself or herself — or to others. Family members also can petition to have guns temporarily removed.

Also under the new law, people who feel they have been unfairly targeted by others — and are really of no danger to themselves or anybody — can make their case to a judge that their firearms should not be taken from them.

Such an intervention, conceivably, could have prevented the shootings on Saturday.

Unfortunately, however, most people, including many police officers, are unaware of the new law. Illinois should amp up efforts to get the word out.

Attorney General Kwame Raoul is leading a statewide effort to do just that. Other agencies — local police departments, counseling organizations and others — should help.

Agreed. Pass the word.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

28 Comments
  1. - Dotnonymous - Thursday, Oct 17, 19 @ 11:17 am:

    I can hear the wailing of gunclutchers.

    The “need” for a gun is mostly fantasy.

    The need for mental health care… is real.


  2. - Jeff - Thursday, Oct 17, 19 @ 11:22 am:

    “as long as that person is a danger to himself or herself”

    This phrase is very difficult phrase to get past, from personal experience. Even though a person acts strange, does not communicate effectively, shows signs of paranoia and does not make sense when talking does not constitute a danger to themselves or others. Emergency personnel will not remove the person from the residence. It is sad to say and I have experienced it for myself. Good idea but should talk to a judge/attorney/emergency response to get feedback. Mental health is very difficult to deal with and we need to start dealing with it.


  3. - Anonymous Rex - Thursday, Oct 17, 19 @ 11:52 am:

    Can you file a complaint anonymously? What if you “red flag” a person, the state takes action and then they still keep their firearms and other weapons?


  4. - Nagidam - Thursday, Oct 17, 19 @ 12:00 pm:

    The IL red flag law has safeguards against using the law maliciously. If you falsely file a charge the penalty is perjury or a class 4 felony. So, if we are out there explaining the law, and I agree we should, also explain a false charge can be a Felony and also give those that oppose the law ammunition to say I told you so.


  5. - Jocko - Thursday, Oct 17, 19 @ 12:00 pm:

    Dotnonymous +1

    I would argue that, like it or not, Krysztof Marek needs to lumped in with all those who consider themselves ‘responsible gun owners’ until they’re willing to be part of the solution.


  6. - Ken_in_Aurora - Thursday, Oct 17, 19 @ 12:54 pm:

    ===- Dotnonymous - Thursday, Oct 17, 19 @ 11:17 am:===

    …and here we have a prime example of why red flag is such a hard sell for the gun owning community.

    To the post: I haven’t read the law as enacted, but so long as there is due process as implied in the S-T editorial quote above I think this is workable. But it points up the problem of legal solutions to social problems - they aren’t very effective.


  7. - Homefry - Thursday, Oct 17, 19 @ 1:49 pm:

    — until they’re willing to be part of the solution.—

    You mean submit submit to every draconian “solution” the Chicago dems can come up with.

    Comments like that jocko are why we refuse to give an inch on any gun law.


  8. - Demoralized - Thursday, Oct 17, 19 @ 1:57 pm:

    ==why we refuse to give an inch on any gun law==

    Including keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill?

    You’re a profile in courage.


  9. - Amalia - Thursday, Oct 17, 19 @ 1:57 pm:

    there was no arrest and it seems there should have been. Start spreading the news on the red flag law and take action.


  10. - Demoralized - Thursday, Oct 17, 19 @ 1:59 pm:

    ==why red flag is such a hard sell for the gun owning community==

    Why would a process to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill be such a hard sell? Doesn’t seem all that controversial to me, nor would it to anyone else who had the slightest bit of rational thought running around in their head.


  11. - Homefry - Thursday, Oct 17, 19 @ 2:07 pm:

    As usual demoralized, you show up to a battle of wits unarmed. You know exactly what I’m referring to, I don’t know a single gun owner that wants the mentally ill to have access to firearms.


  12. - Demoralized - Thursday, Oct 17, 19 @ 2:30 pm:

    Um, you’re the one that said you don’t want to give an inch on any gun law. If you don’t mean any don’t say it. You’re arguing against yourself here.


  13. - Donnie Elgin - Thursday, Oct 17, 19 @ 2:33 pm:

    No one wants guns in the hands of those struggling with a incapacitating mental health episode. However the rights of the gun owner are held in low regard, the red flag petition is done ex parte, meaning the individual in question is not even present to offer evidence. They first find out about the order when LE comes to seize the weapons. Not exactly strong due process.


  14. - Ken_in_Aurora - Thursday, Oct 17, 19 @ 2:41 pm:

    ===- Demoralized - Thursday, Oct 17, 19 @ 1:59 pm:===

    Did you read the post I was referencing, which set up a valid statement about the need for mental health care with an insult against gun owners? Or is your post quoting me just an attempt to impugn my ability to think rationally? Here, let me quote Dotnonymous for you:

    “I can hear the wailing of gunclutchers.

    The “need” for a gun is mostly fantasy… (snip)”

    *This* is why so many gun owners push back, because of grabbers making comments such as this. There’s serious distrust of the motives involved… and comments like yours don’t help to build any bridges.


  15. - Dotnonymous - Thursday, Oct 17, 19 @ 2:47 pm:

    People suffering from mental forms of illness are not generally more violent than those suffering from any other form of illness…just wanted to make that important point.


  16. - Dotnonymous - Thursday, Oct 17, 19 @ 2:51 pm:

    - Ken_in_Aurora - Thursday, Oct 17, 19 @ 12:54 pm:

    ===- Dotnonymous - Thursday, Oct 17, 19 @ 11:17 am:===

    …and here we have a prime example of why red flag is such a hard sell for the gun owning community.

    I believe that’s a first for me…being cited as a prime example…for anything…so…thanks?


  17. - SpfdNewb - Thursday, Oct 17, 19 @ 2:52 pm:

    Demoralized, forget it, the trolls want to own themselves to get the libs (whatever that is supposed to mean).


  18. - Dotnonymous - Thursday, Oct 17, 19 @ 3:46 pm:

    If you feed it…it will grow.


  19. - Stuntman Bob's Brother - Thursday, Oct 17, 19 @ 3:46 pm:

    Since we’re not serious about keeping gun offenders behind bars, why pick on people with mental health issues?

    Take, for instance the recent sexual assault of a 14 year old girl in Burbank, by a 22 year old parolee with previous felony firearm convictions?https://patch.com/illinois/oaklawn/parolee-charged-burbank-sexual-assault-14-year-old-girl


  20. - Nagidam - Thursday, Oct 17, 19 @ 3:54 pm:

    @Donnie Elgin

    The gun community is concentrating on the ex parte portion of the law. I certainly can understand. There is due process though through a judge making a determination. If the judge doesn’t think there is evidence of a problem, they make a ruling. The ex parte part of the law specifically can be helpful for extreme cases where there is a sudden break from reality caused by some unforeseen event (death of child, break-up etc.) This has already been used in Illinois where a guy had an adverse reaction to his medications. Red Flag laws seem to be focused more on suicide prevention than violence prevention but certainly can be both.


  21. - Alice - Thursday, Oct 17, 19 @ 4:40 pm:

    What is not covered about this case is the radicalization of Polish American community in Chicago. Which is flying under the radar - in different language.

    But it’s pervasive. Polish churches, radio, tv, organizations - all of them - gave shelter to this behavior.

    The most popular Polish radio hostess is militantly vile right winger. The catholic radio often speaks of victimization of Poles by other nations (Jewish, especially Polish Jews, German, Ukrainian…) And gay indoctrination. Apparently there is one. The term I heard is - in translation - an oddling. As, a human who doesn’t belong. They say that in between prayers.

    E. Kurek, a holocaust denier, gave speeches here in June this year. NYC Polish-American community kicked her out. But she managed to speak here without much fuss. Polish churches support her. The church authorities don’t.

    There is a Polish neo-nazi organization in Chicago - nsz chicago (I’m not linking to them, but easily found - they are not hiding). Promoting war criminals as good guys. Often in bizarrely convoluted way (if one knows history)… And they make appearances in Polish language schools. Nobody brings it up as an issue, apparently.

    The point is - depression + isolation and this will explode. Especially with our gun laws.

    I’m sure that if this guy listened to anything said or read anything written in Polish here in Chicago (and he must have, they all do), it contributed to his rage. Big time.

    I do hope I’m not the only one who noticed and that the authorities are not limited by the language barrier.


  22. - Flapdoodle - Thursday, Oct 17, 19 @ 4:44 pm:

    Just want to note that as someone who considers himself a responsible gun owner, I am personally offended by jocko’s 12:00 comment. Such statements are both ignorant and needlessly insulting. They contribute nothing to the desperately needed discussion of gun violence.


  23. - Demoralized - Thursday, Oct 17, 19 @ 5:21 pm:

    ==and comments like yours don’t help to build any bridges==

    I quoted exactly what you said. You are another person arguing with yourself.


  24. - revvedup - Thursday, Oct 17, 19 @ 5:23 pm:

    The problem is that a hearing AFTER the seizure is illegal when Constitutional due process is required BEFORE the seizure takes place. Doing it backwards (an Illinois pasttime) means the judge also doesn’t get a chance to see and hear the gun owner before authorizing the seizure, which protects the person from unfounded complaints, as well as violating the right of the gun owner to be secure in his “he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” Those are SERIOUS problems, and gun ownership doesn’t negate those rights.


  25. - Demoralized - Thursday, Oct 17, 19 @ 5:44 pm:

    ==The problem is that a hearing AFTER the seizure is illegal ==

    Doing something after the fact doesn’t make it unconstitutional. People sit in jail all the time for things they haven’t yet been convicted of, sometimes for significant periods of time.

    If someone is thought to be a danger to themselves or others then it is not unreasonable for the state to take the stance of adjudication after the fact. Reasonableness is often the standard used. The Courts balance one right against another all the time. I guess we’ll have to wait and see what the guys and gals in the black robes have to say.


  26. - lana - Thursday, Oct 17, 19 @ 7:01 pm:

    Thank you, Alice, for your post.


  27. - Donnie Elgin - Thursday, Oct 17, 19 @ 7:40 pm:

    =Alice
    “ I’m sure that if this guy listened to anything said or read anything written in Polish here in Chicago (and he must have, they all do)”

    Talk about stereotyping and vilifying a group based on anecdotes. I’m sure 99.9% of the 1.5 million Chicagoland residents of Polish nationality will disagree loudly with your smear campaign. Surprised that Rich has not taken this comment down.


  28. - 17% Solution - Friday, Oct 25, 19 @ 8:40 am:

    Donnie Elgin: Alice didn’t smear Polish people. She was just making observations about some things going on in the Polish community.


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