SPEAK FOR SAFETY: The Gun Violence Restraining Order (GVRO)
A law that works to prevent or reduce gun violence. The Gun Violence Restraining Order (GVRO) is a law that allows family members, household members, and law enforcement to work with courts to temporarily remove guns and prevent the purchase of new guns by individuals who pose a significant risk of harm to themselves or others.
If you are in immediate danger, please contact local law enforcement or dial 911.
Watch video: California’s Gun Violence Restraining Order (GVRO) :
Background: On May 23, 2014 in Isla Vista near the campus of University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), a 22 year old male killed six people and injured 14 others before killing himself inside his vehicle. At the UCSB vigil, we lit candles in solidarity of the pain and suffering felt by families and friends who lost loved ones, giving strength with compassion in response to the senseless violence. The entire Santa Barbara community was affect by this heinous crime. A dark cloud of grief consumed the community.
Out of this dark cloud arose legislation that helps prevent potential acts of gun violence by mentally disturbed people through early intervention.
Two months after the tragedy, Assemblymembers Nancy Skinner and Das Williams introduced a new law in the California legislature, the Gun Violence Restraining Order or GVRO.
By temporarily removing guns already possessed and prohibiting new gun purchases, the GVRO creates safer circumstances for individuals and encourages treatment for the causes of dangerous behaviors by the individual in question.
Soon after, Congresswoman Lois Capps introduced a Speak for Safety Act, similar to California’s GVRO to Congress. In 2018 Congressman Salud Carbajal, with bi-partisan support, introduced a similar bill called an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO). This national bill, the EPRO is a civil court order prohibiting an individual from controlling, purchasing possessing, or receiving firearms for a specific time period (usually 21 days) after which the case is reviewed.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
A common thread in many acts of violence is that family members observed dangerous behaviors by a family member and were concerned before any violence occurred.
The individual(s) at high risk of committing gun violence to themselves or others, are legally disqualified and prohibited from buying and possessing any firearms in the possession, nor may they purchase any firearms for the duration of the order, which can be issued for a 21 day temporary period if petitioned for by law enforcement or family. A one-year GVRO may be issued after a hearing is held to determine if the respondent poses a significant danger to self or others and the removal of firearms, magazines, and ammunition is needed to prevent injury. One-year GVROs are renewable.
U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein has also introduced a companion Extreme Risk Protection Order Act in the Senate. As of this writing (July 2019) 14 other states have passed ERPO laws.
California is exploring legislation to the expand the list of people who can issue a GVRO along with increasing funding to train law enforcement and other GVRO reporters regarding how to implement the GVRO.