California’s Gun Violence Restraining Order (GVRO): A Model For National Legislation!

On May 23, 2014, a mentally ill man killed six students and wounded 13 in Isla Vista, UC Santa Barbara. The shooter had exhibited signs of violence, yet no legal mechanism was available to his parents or law enforcement to take preventative action. In response, the California legislature passed the Gun Violence Restraining Order (GVRO), a law which does something meaningful about mental health. The GVRO allows family members or law enforcement to ask a judge to remove firearms from a relative who appears to pose a threat. Since January 2016, when the law went into effect Santa Barbara County leads the state in issuing GVROs. These orders remove guns and ammunition for 21-days and then up to one year, giving an at-risk person the opportunity to stabilize and seek help while preventing them from harming themselves or others with a gun.

On the 3rd Anniversary of the Isla Vista tragedy, May 23, 2017, Congressman Salud Carbajal (CA-24) introduced The Gun Violence Restraining Order Act at the national level, on the House Floor. Last week, Congressman Carbajal and Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) urged President Trump for his support to pass their bipartisan Gun Violence Restraining Order (GVRO) Act, H.R. 2598 and Feinstein’s companion legislation S. 1212 in the Senate.

“The President called on Congress to find common ground and work toward solutions that can prevent tragedies like the one in Parkland, Florida,” said Rep. Carbajal. “GVROs do just that, disarming individuals in crisis while maintaining due process. I am hopeful to see the President and Vice President express their support for this commonsense measure to provide law enforcement a tool to temporarily disarm individuals in crisis, but we also need their leadership to demand a vote on this bipartisan bill.”

The bill will also ensure that a court can issue a “gun violence prevention warrant, allowing law enforcement to take temporary possession of firearms that are in an individual’s possession if the court determines that the individual poses a threat to themselves or others. Furthermore, it would ensure that law enforcement makes full use of all existing state and local gun databases when assessing a tip, warning, or request from a concerned family member or other close associate.” said U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein.

“One common thread that runs through mass shootings in this country is that family and friends were often aware that the perpetrators had significant mental illnesses and posed a threat to themselves or others,” said Senator Feinstein. “The family of the Isla Vista shooter had called law enforcement, fearing what their son might do. Families have little recourse if they want to ensure their loved ones do not get their hands on guns that they could use to kill themselves or other people. Our bill would help states establish a court process to allow that to happen. Senator Boxer first introduced this bill and I’m proud to carry her work forward.”


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