If you follow the firearms industry and the issues the industry faces you may have heard about California Assembly Bill 1014 (AB-1014). AB-1014 was originally an energy bill (“Energy: electrical corporations: green tariff shared renewable program”) but was re-introduced as a gun violence bill after the recent attacks in Santa Barbara.
AB-1014 is titled “Gun violence restraining orders.” The bill outlines details about “… a procedure to obtain a gun violence restraining order and, when applicable, a firearm seizure warrant, when a person poses a significant risk of personal injury to himself or herself or others by possessing a firearm.”
Much of this law is quoting existing law, e.g. you are not legally allowed to be in possession of firearms if you have a restraining order or if you are involved in a domestic violence situation the police are allowed to “temporary custody of any firearm or deadly weapon in plain sight or discovered pursuant to a lawful search”. But, what the bill is doing is offering up more and more ways for the police to seize firearms from otherwise law abiding citizens.
I have a few issues with the bill, but the main issue that sticks out to me is section 18101. (a). The full text is below.
The problem is with the first line “Any person may submit an application to the court.” This is a very slippery slope for any law that is pointed at taking away someones freedoms.
It’s not like a person can just file the paperwork and then the police come knock down your door. Section 18102 of the bill outlines, more or less, that before a gun violence restraining order is issued that it has to be verified that the request is warranted. The current bill text for section 18102 is listed below.
(b) In determining whether grounds for a gun violence restraining order exist, the magistrate shall consider all of the following:
(1) A recent threat or act of violence by the named person directed toward others.
(2) A recent threat or act of violence by the named person directed toward himself or herself.
(3) A recent violation of an emergency protective order pursuant to Section 646.91 or Part 3 (commencing with Section 6240) of Division 10 of the Family Code.
(4) A recent violation of a protective order issued pursuant to Part 4 (commencing with Section 6300) of Division 10 of the Family Code, Section 136.2, Section 527.6 of the Code of Civil Procedure, or Section 213.5 or 15657.03 of the Welfare and Institutions Code.
(5) A conviction for any offense listed in Section 29805.
(c) In determining whether grounds for a gun violence restraining order exist, the magistrate may consider any of the following:
(1) The reckless use, display, or brandishing of a firearm by the named person.
(2) The history of use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force by the named person against other persons.
(3) Any prior arrest of the named person for a felony offense.
(4) Any history of a violation by the named person of an emergency protective order issued pursuant to Section 646.91 or Part 3 (commencing with Section 6240) of Division 10 of the Family Code.
(5) Any history of a violation by the named person of a protective order issued pursuant to Part 4 (commencing with Section 6300) of Division 10 of the Family Code, Section 136.2, Section 527.6 of the Code of Civil Procedure, or Section 213.5 or 15657.03 of the Welfare and Institutions Code.
(6) Evidence of recent or ongoing abuse of controlled substances or alcohol by the named person.
(7) Evidence of recent acquisition of firearms or other deadly weapons.
(d) The affidavit or affidavits shall set forth the facts tending to establish the grounds of the application, or probable cause for believing that they exist.
(e) In lieu of the written affidavit required in subdivision (a), the magistrate may take an oral statement under oath using the procedures prescribed in Section 1526.
So what does all of the mean, well, your neighbor hates you, and they know that you have guns and they go and fill out the paperwork and start up a whole whirlwind of problems for you… There is currently a lot of things a person can do like this already, but this one just takes it a step further. And in a litigious society like California, you know its going to happen and cost everyone, including the State, a lot of money. It’s just another step, in my opinion, in the wrong direction. What we really need to do is evaluate the mental health system in this country, and to lay the blame on the person, not the tools. A drunk driver is the issue, not the car he or she is driving.
And with all of that being said, I do believe the police need to have the ability to confiscate weapons, especially in the cases of domestic violence, or other criminal activity but it should be based on criminal activity, or an actual documented mental health issue But, you know… innocent until proven guilty? Not the fact that your neighbor thinks your an asshole (side note, don’t be asshole to your neighbors).
You can view the full text of the bill here, AB-1014 Gun violence restraining orders.
You can also get more information on the bill and write your representatives on the Firearms Policy Coalition website.
So what do you think? Are there sticking points with this bill that are more important to you?