California is now the first and only state that allows family members to ask a judge to order the removal of firearms from a relative who poses a threat. Governor Jerry Brown signed the new legislation, AB 1014, into law last year.
In some states law enforcement officers can ask a judge for an order allowing them to seize guns from those whom they deem to be a danger. The new California law also gives law enforcement officers this same option as well as extending it to family members.
The law was introduced in response to a deadly rampage last May near the University of California, Santa Barbara, in which six people were fatally stabbed or shot and 13 others were wounded. The parents of the 22-year-old shooter were unable to get help for their troubled son before the rampage.
Previously in California, authorities could only seize a legally purchased gun if the owner was convicted of a felony or a violent misdemeanor, was subject to a domestic violence related restraining order, or who has been determined to be mentally unstable.
Under the new California law, anyone who requests a restraining order must sign an affidavit under oath. If the requestor lies, he or she could be charged with a misdemeanor. Once a restraining order is requested, the court must hold a hearing within 14 days. The gun owner must be given a chance to appear in front of the court as long as there is no danger in doing so.
If a judge ultimately determines that someone is at risk and issues a gun violence restraining order, that person will be temporarily prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms or ammunition. Law enforcement will then be able to temporarily remove any firearms or ammunition that is already in the person’s possession. The law does provide procedures for returning the guns or ammunition to the owner.
For more information, contact Ozols Law Firm for a free consultation.
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