Family members who believe a loved one poses a danger to themselves or others will be able to ask police to seek a temporary “gun violence” restraining order from a judge beginning Jan. 1. The order would allow police to seize the person’s guns for 21 days.
State lawmakers approved the legislation (AB1014) and Gov. Jerry Brown signed it into law after a 2014 mass shooting in Isla Vista, near the University of California, Santa Barbara, in which six people were killed and 14 injured. Before the shootings, sheriff’s deputies had visited the shooter, Elliot Rodger, after his parents raised concerns about his mental health and online rants against women.
But deputies concluded Rodger, 22, was not a risk. They decided they had no basis to search his apartment, where he had amassed guns, ammunition and knives.
Under the new law, a restraining order could be issued without prior knowledge of the person. In other words, a judge could issue the order without ever hearing from the person in question, if there are reasonable grounds to believe the person is a threat based on accounts from the family and police.
“The law gives us a vehicle to cause the person to surrender their weapons, to have a time out, if you will,” said Los Angeles Police Department Assistant Chief Michael Moore. “It allows further examination of the person’s mental state.”
After three weeks, the person can challenge the judge’s decision.
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