New Year’s Day 2016 will hold more than the usual significance of the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl game. Beginning January 1, police in California may confiscate firearms from gun owners thought to be a danger to themselves or others without giving the owner any notice. The implementation of “gun violence restraining orders” (GVROs), will go into effect New Year’s Day, according to Breitbart Tuesday.
KPCC reports GVROs “could be issued without prior knowledge of the person. In other words, a judge could issue the order without ever hearing from the person in question, if there are reasonable grounds to believe the person is a threat based on accounts from the family and police.” Confiscation can commence without any notice to the gun owner once the order is issued without the gun owner even being present to defend him or herself.
Trying to avoid the “C” word, Los Angeles Police Department Assistant Chief Michael Moore instead says, “The law gives us a vehicle to cause the person to surrender their weapons, to have a time out, if you will.” California law already bans people from possessing guns if they’ve committed a violent crime or were involuntarily committed to a mental health facility.
With GVROs, California law will allow judges to bar people from possessing guns even if they have not committed a violent crime or were involuntarily committed. Because of this, Gun Owners of California Executive Director Sam Paredes warns that GVROs “may create a situation where law-abiding gun owners are put in jeopardy.”
According to the Washington Times, the gun-safety legislation taking effect in California next week will allow authorities to seize a person’s weapons for 21 days if a judge determines there’s potential for violence. The bill provides family members with a means of having an emergency “gun violence restraining order” imposed against a loved one if they can convince a judge that allowing that person to possess a firearm “poses an immediate and present danger of causing personal injury to himself, herself or another by having in his or her custody or control.”
The bill, proposed in the wake of a deadly May 2014 shooting rampage by Elliot Rodger, is good in theory, but it opens wide the possibility of abuse by family members who may not like or are angry at a particular family member. “It’s a short duration and it allows for due process,” he continued, adding: “It’s an opportunity for mental health professionals to provide an analysis of a person’s mental state,” said Moore.
The bill is expected to give family members a mechanism for having a loved one briefly lose access to their own, legally acquired weapons in hopes of stymieing any similar rampages in the future. “[I]t’s the family members, it’s the people closest to the perpetrator who are in the best position to notice red flags,” Dr. Wendy Patrick, a San Diego State University professor and attorney, told San Diego’s CBS affiliate this week.
Bob Owens of Bearing Arms makes a very valid point. He says someone needs to send Los Angeles Police Department Assistant Chief Michael Moore to law school, or at least buy him a dictionary. Stripping a citizen of a core natural right without a trial, based only on hearsay evidence from family members who may be part of a dysfunctional family, is not remotely like “due process.” You will have no opportunity to refute false claims, or even be aware that you are being targeted, until after law enforcement officers have raided your home. It will be interesting to see what other states follow California’s lead.