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Cook County orders of protection attorney

When the Violence Against Women Act (“VAWA”) expired in February of 2019, Congress almost immediately began the process of reauthorizing, amending and expanding the scope of the Act. Just as quickly as they had begun these efforts, the amendments to VAWA provoked opposition from gun rights groups. But, why is there so much controversy surrounding these amendments, and are the concerns of groups like the National Rifle Association (“NRA”) well founded? Based on my reading of the law, my understanding of how the law interacts with state laws, and my experience with Illinois orders of protection, I believe there is legitimate cause for concern. Of course, my concern is not limited to the VAWA. Both the VAWA and the Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986 (“IDVA”) contain very similar provisions that can undermine the rights of citizens under some questionable circumstances. I suspect that the reason that the VAWA is drawing so much controversy now is because it is continually broadening the circumstances whereby a citizen can lose his/her 2nd Amendment rights. Before I continue this analysis, let me emphasize that the purpose of this post and the focus of this blog, in general, is not primarily political advocacy. There are plenty of forums that address the gun control/gun rights debate, and those forums serve an important and worthy function. However, the purpose of this post is to highlight the very serious legal implications of reauthorizing the VAWA and how the VAWA already interacts with Illinois law. Far too often, contentious political debates overshadow important discussions about our laws and how they affect the rights of individuals. Such is the case with the VAWA. Just taking a brief look at the articles and coverage available on the subject, one can see that this issue is being falsely characterized as a pro-woman vs. anti-woman issue. And, those who oppose the bill are being falsely characterized as unsympathetic to victims of domestic violence.[i]  Sadly, what is lost in all this political analysis is that these laws contain some very consequential remedies. And frankly, I don’t think most politicians (and many lawyers) understand how these provisions work in real court settings. In the paragraphs below, I attempt to give the reader a sense of how these laws actually work when applied in real life court situations.

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