Governor OKs temporary gun seizures from people judged to be a danger

Under a new California law, family members, police can seek 21-day orders taking guns from troubled people

Four months after a disturbed man killed six UC Santa Barbara students and wounded 13 others, Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday signed legislation allowing the temporary seizure of guns from people determined by the courts to be a threat to themselves or others.

The Isla Vista massacre in May occurred even though the family of Elliot Rodger had sought help because of concerns about his strange behavior before the shootings.

The legislation approved by the governor allows law enforcement officers or family members to ask a court for a restraining order against a person believed to be a threat, barring his or her possession of firearms for 21 days.

Democratic Assembly members Das Williams of Santa Barbara and Nancy Skinner of Berkeley introduced the measure with support from family members of some of the students who were killed.

“Family members are often the first to spot the warning signs when someone is in crisis,” Skinner said in a statement. “AB 1014 provides an effective tool to get guns out of the hands of loved ones to avoid these tragedies.”

“As a result of the action the Governor has taken today, we are able to say that the rampage in Isla Vista produced not just terrible tragedy but also positive changes for our state and our community," state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara), a supporter of the measure, said in a statement.

The measure was opposed by groups including the National Rifle Assn. and Gun Owners of California. The groups objected that the gun owner would not get a hearing before the restraining order is issued. Under the new law, a hearing must be held within 21 days of the order being issued.

“Without a doubt, AB 1014 is one of the most egregious violations of civil liberties ever introduced in the California Legislature,” wrote Charles H. Cunningham, a director with the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action.

The governor also signed a bill requiring BB guns to have bright colored markings so law enforcement officers do not mistake them for real firearms. Sen. Kevin De Leon (Los Angeles) introduced SB 199.

Brown vetoed another bill by De Leon that sought to deal with “ghost guns,” firearms assembled at home from multiple parts so they cannot be traced. The measure would have required the gun owners to obtain a serial number and register the firearm with the state.

“I appreciate the author’s concerns about gun violence, but I can’t see how adding a serial number to a homemade gun would significantly advance public safety,” Brown wrote in his veto message on SB 808.

 

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times
58°