How to Get an FRO

Information for Family Members

Emergency Firearms Restraining Orders

If someone you know is experiencing a crisis and is in danger of harming themselves or others, a FRO may be an essential first step in preventing gun violence by removing firearms from the restrained person’s possession.

Emergency Firearms Restraining Orders can be issued for a 14 day period, and are available to family members, including spouses, parents, siblings, children, step-children, or roommates, as well as law enforcement. For a full list of who is permitted to submit a petition, see here.

To obtain an Emergency FRO:

  • Obtain and fill out the Verified Petition form, and depending on which order you wish to petition for, the Six-Month FRO or Emergency FRO. Forms can be obtained online or may be available in person at your local Circuit Court. (Online forms listed are generic, and can be used across the state). We suggest calling the Circuit Court before completing forms, to get more specific instructions about where the court is located, and where to go once you are there.
  • After completing the forms, you may wish to have them reviewed by a lawyer.
  • Bring these completed forms to the Circuit Court in the county in which the respondent lives.
    • There you can have them reviewed by the Court Clerk for free. You are also entitled to receive support from the local State’s Attorney office for clerical support.
    • Make sure to make copies of your petition.
    • In the event you do not live in, or near the county where the respondent resides, you can contact the Circuit Court in that county for advice on how to proceed. This could involve requesting law enforcement in that county to petition on your behalf. Locations and contact information for the Circuit Courts can be found here.
  • A Circuit Court may issue an Emergency FRO, if they find probable cause to believe  that the respondent of the order poses an immediate and present danger of causing personal injury to themselves or another person by having in their custody or control, purchasing, possessing, or receiving a firearm.
  • Petitioning does not involve a criminal complaint and does not prevent you from seeking any other available legal options.
  • If an Emergency FRO is issued by the Court, the Court shall, upon a finding of probable cause that the respondent possesses firearms, issue a search warrant directing a law enforcement agency to seize the respondent’s firearms. As part of that warrant, law enforcement may be directed to search the respondent’s residence and other places where the judge finds there is probable cause to believe they are likely to possess the firearms.
    • When filling out the necessary forms, if you have information about the quantity, location, and types of firearms possessed, please include that in the forms.
    • The issuance and serving of this warrant will come at no cost to the petitioner.

If an Emergency FRO is issued, the Court will schedule a follow-up hearing within 14 days in which both you (the person petitioning for the order) and the respondent (the person whom you are worried about) have an opportunity to explain whether a six-month FRO should be issued. If, after the hearing, the Court determines by clear and convincing evidence that the respondent continues to pose a significant danger to themselves or others by having in his or her custody or control, purchasing, possessing, or receiving a firearm, the court shall issue a Six-month FRO, (see more below).

Six-month Firearms Restraining Order:

Six-month Firearms Restraining Orders issued for a six-month renewable period are available to family members, including spouses, parents, siblings, children, step-children, or roommates, as well as law enforcement. For a full list of who is permitted to submit a petition, see here.

If someone you know has firearms in his or her possession and is behaving in an unsafe manner with those firearms by acting violently, making threats, or has otherwise shown that their gun use is unsafe, you should consider obtaining a Six-month FRO. This order can prevent gun violence by removing guns from the restrained person’s possession.

To obtain a Six-month FRO:

  • Obtain and fill out the Verified Petition form, and the Six-Month FRO. Forms can be obtained online or may be available in person at your local Circuit Court. The online forms are generic and can be used in any Circuit Court in Illinois.
    • We suggest calling the Circuit Court before completing forms, to get more specific instructions about where the court is located, and where to go once you are there.
    • You do not need to petition for an Emergency FRO to obtain a Six-Month FRO, you may apply separately as long as you attend the hearing that will be scheduled within 30 days of filing your petition and that the respondent of the petition is served with a notice of the hearing.
  • Bring these completed forms to the Circuit Court in the county in which the respondent of the petition lives.
    • There you can have them reviewed by the Court Clerk for free. You are also entitled to receive support from the local State’s Attorney office for clerical support.
    • Make sure to make copies of your petition.
    • In the event you do not live in, or near the county where the respondent resides, you can contact the Circuit Court in that county for advice on how to proceed. This could involve requesting law enforcement in that county to petition on your behalf. Locations and contact information for the Circuit Courts can be found here.
  • A hearing will be scheduled within 30 days of the receipt of the petition.
    • The respondent will be “served” a notice for the hearing by either local law enforcement or a special process server.
  • A Six-month FRO will be issued by the Court after a hearing if the petitioner proves by “clear and convincing evidence” that the respondent poses a significant danger of personal injury to themselves, or another, by having in their custody or control, purchasing, possessing, or receiving a firearm. The respondent of the petition will be provided an opportunity to respond to the order during this hearing.
    • If the Court issues a six-month FRO, upon a finding of probable cause that the respondent possesses firearms, the court will issue a search warrant directing a law enforcement agency to seize the respondent’s firearms, Firearm Owners Identification Card and Concealed Carry License.
    • A respondent may surender their firearms, FOID Card, and Concealed Carry License to local law enforcement, but should communicate directly with the relevant department for next steps.
  • When attending the hearing, bring any documents (see list below) that help prove the reasons you think a Six-Month FRO is necessary. Also, bring copies of all FRO forms filed with the Court. Some of the documents and other evidence that may help your case include:
    • Witnesses or written statements from witnesses
    • Any relevant photos
    • Medical or police reports
    • Damaged property
    • Threatening letters, emails, or telephone messages
  • In determining whether to issue a Six-month FRO, the Court will consider evidence including, but not limited to, the following:
    • Unlawful and reckless use, display, or brandishing of a firearm by the respondent.
    • Any history of use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force by the respondent against another person.
    • Any prior arrest of the respondent for a felony offense.
    • Evidence of the abuse of controlled substances or alcohol by the respondent.
    • A recent threat of violence or act of violence by the respondent directed toward themselves or another person.
    • A violation of a domestic violence order of protection.
    • Any pattern of violent acts or violent threats, including, but not limited to, threats of violence or act of violence by the respondent directed toward themselves or others.

If the Court issues a Six-month FRO at the hearing, the judge must sign off on the Six-month FRO. You should keep a copy of this order at all times.

  • If, at the hearing, the judge does not issue a Six-month FRO, then they shall dissolve any Emergency FRO then in effect.

Documents

Source: Champaign County Circuit Clerk

Note: While these forms can be found on Champaign County’s site, they are generic and can be used in Circuit Courts across Illinois.

Verified Petition for Firearms Restraining OrderUse to start the court case to file for a Firearms Restraining Order.
Emergency Firearms Restraining OrderUsed to file specifically for Emergency FRO.
Six Month Firearms Restraining OrderUsed to file specifically for Six-month FRO.
Motion to Terminate Firearms Restraining OrderUsed by respondent to appeal for termination of FRO. Allowed to be used only once during duration of FRO.