What you should know about the state gun violence restraining order law when students go back to school


picture of Jason Gilman out Pixabay

This law has the potential to prevent mass shootings and firearm suicides.

September 18, 2022 — SACRAMENTO — As millions of California children and youth return to school, the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) is highlighting how the state’s Gun Control Act is a tool that prohibits shootings and guns at school could prevent suicides among youth, young people and families.

California’s gun restraint statute permits the temporary removal of guns and ammunition from people who are at risk of harming themselves or others. This law gives family members, teachers and school administrators, and employers the ability to step in and prevent anyone from having access to firearms during a crisis.

“While no law can prevent every tragedy, there is mounting evidence that California’s gun control statute can save lives. Because of this, California is making unprecedented investments in publicizing the law and how it works.” said Mark Ghilarducci, Cal OES Directoright

In the first three years of the California law, officials used it to remove guns from 58 people who threatened to commit mass shootings, according to a to learn recently published by the Violence Prevention Research Program. Previous research into similar laws in Indiana and Connecticut has shown that so-called red flag laws can also be an effective tool in reducing gun suicide.

Gun restraining orders not only empower family members, K-12 teachers and school administrators, roommates, and employers to intervene and intercept what could potentially be a mass shooting or gun suicide, they also empower those individuals to prevent tragedy.

When California’s key stakeholders are educated about the Gun Control Act in a culturally sensitive and linguistically competent manner, there is incredible potential to reduce gun suicides, armed hatred and mass shootings.

Californians who fear someone may be a risk to themselves or others and have access to a gun may apply for a gun restraining order or learn more at California Courts Judicial Branch of California.

frequently asked Questions

What is a gun violence ban?

  • It is a civil order made by a court when someone is at risk of violence against themselves (including suicide) or others. A person subject to this order cannot purchase or possess weapons while the order is in effect.
  • Once this order is filed with the court, the person’s firearms will be removed from the home to reduce the likelihood of self-harm or harm to others.
  • Once that order is terminated or expires, the defendant may request the return of his weapons. Law enforcement will conduct a background check to ensure the respondent is not otherwise prohibited from possessing firearms and then return the firearm(s).

Who can file one in California?

  • Family members and dependents related by blood, marriage or adoption
  • Prosecution
  • Current household members/roommates
  • A colleague who has had significant and regular interactions with the individual for at least a year, if the colleague has received employer approval to make the request.
  • A staff member or teacher at a secondary or post-secondary school where the person named in the petition has attended in the past six months, if the staff member or teacher has received approval from a school administrator or an administrative staff member with a supervisory rank to submit the application.

What are the steps to get one?

  • Contact law enforcement to petition your local high court or online.
  • Complete and submit the petition and other required documentation.
  • When the judge issues an initial order, it is recommended that a enforcement officer serve the order.
  • Attend the hearing scheduled by the court. The hearing is scheduled 21 days after the day the judge makes or denies the order.

About the GVRO campaign

As gun violence ramps up across the country, Gov. Gavin Newsom made historical investments To focus on outreach and education about the California Gun Violence Injunction Act to the most vulnerable communities and populations.

This $11 million campaign includes recognized leaders in the community movement to prevent gun violence:

  • $5 million to the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence in grants to local community-based domestic violence groups for outreach.
  • $5 million to the Hope and Heal Fund for outreach to communities most at risk of gun violence nationwide, including outreach efforts, research and multilingual outreach.
  • $1 million to the San Diego City Attorney’s Office for training of prosecutors and law enforcement groups.
    Source: CalOES

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