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Gun Violence Restraining Order Bill Clears California Senate Committee

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A bill authored by California Assemblymembers Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), Das Williams (D-Santa Barbara) and Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara), intended to provide for the temporary remove of firearms from at-risk individuals, has cleared Senate Public Safety Committee.

AB 1014 establishes a process for obtaining a Gun Violence Restraining Order (GVRO) from a court in order to temporarily limit (for one year, unless renewed) an individual’s access to firearms when there are warning signs or indications that the person is at risk for violence. Currently, Connecticut, Indiana and Texas have similar laws.

The authors cite the recent shootings in Santa Barbara by Elliot Rodger, an apparently mentally disturbed man for whom his parents tried to get psychiatric heap before his killing spree.

“In the recent Isla Vista tragedy, family members saw the warning signs and took action. But they had no legal tools to prevent this mass killing,” said Assemblymember Williams. “This is common sense policy. Mentally unstable individuals should not have access to deadly weapons.”

“When someone is in crisis, the people closest to them are often the first to spot the warning signs but almost nothing can now be done to get back their guns or prevent them from buying more," said Assemblymember Skinner. “Parents, like the mother who tried to intervene, deserve an effective tool they can act on to help prevent these tragedies."

The legislation is modeled after California's domestic violence restraining order laws and creates a mechanism for authorities to intervene and prevent the acquisition of firearms by mentally disturbed people; it also provides for the removal of firearms from such person's possession.

AB 1014 also provides guidance to courts for evaluating whether to issue a GVRO, based upon a person’s prior acts of violence (or threats to commit acts of violence) toward themselves or others and other risk factors for future violence.

The bill now moves on to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

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