Crime & Justice

'Gun violence restraining order' bill on Gov. Brown's desk

The aftermath of a shooting near the University of California, Santa Barbara in Isla Vista, as seen on Saturday, May 24, 2014.
The aftermath of a shooting near the University of California, Santa Barbara in Isla Vista, as seen on Saturday, May 24, 2014.
Gaudry Puéchavy

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A bill that would allow the confiscation of weapons from Californians deemed an immediate threat to themselves or others is on Gov. Jerry Brown's desk awaiting his signature or veto, after winning final approval in the state legislature last weekend.

The measure,  AB 1014,  was born from the massacre in Isla Vista last May. It would create a process to obtain a so-called gun violence restraining order.  If it becomes law, immediate family members or law enforcement could petition a court to remove another person’s right to own, possess or buy a firearm for up to a year and possibly longer.  

Co-authored by Assemblyman Das Williams (D-Santa Barbara) and Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), AB 1014 would requires a judge to determine that the person in question poses an immediate danger of harming himself or others before issuing a restraining order and, if necessary, a firearms seizure warrant.

Some advocates for the mentally ill support the bill; opponents worry such a law could be abused.

"We have lots of experience with restraining orders that are issued in a similar manner with regards to divorce cases"  that are used simply as a legal "weapon or tool by those who want to cause harm…or discomfort to the subject of their ire," says Sam Paredes, executive director of Gun Owners of California.

What’s more, he says, California’s existing gun control laws are already some of the toughest in the nation.

 If signed by the Gov. Brown, AB 1014  - which is similar to gun restraining order laws adopted by Texas, Indiana and Connecticut -  would take effect on Jan. 1, 2016.