Word comes to us this morning that there are mixed emotions among the People of the Gun in California. Three firearms-related pieces of legislation have been voted on and while one is now taking a permanent dirt nap, two more have advanced to the governor’s desk for his signature. A bill requiring registration of people wanting to buy ammunition (SB53) failed to pass, but the much-dreaded “Gun Violence Restraining Order” bill (AB 1014) got the Assembly’s approval. That law would allow anyone at any time to drop a dime on any gun owner and get the police to confiscate his or her firearms. Also heading to governor’s office is a bill requiring the registration of homemande firearms (SB 808) As a quick reminder of why AB 1014 is a dangerous idea . . .
There are already mechanisms in place for dealing with people who are a danger to themselves or others, namely the mental health system. The passage of 1014 is simply a means to more easily confiscate firearms from anyone the state of California deems objectionable, as the bar to obtain such orders is extremely low. All someone has to do is allege that a gun owner poses a significant danger of harming themselves or others and the judge will happily hand over one of these confiscation orders directing police to immediately bust down their door and take all their guns, but it doesn’t define what “significant danger” means. For all we know, simply owning a firearm might be sufficient cause for the courts in California.
The GVRO would also be shared with the Department of Justice, supposedly for inclusion in the NICS check system, thereby barring them from purchasing firearms. The bill states that if the order is removed the DoJ will be notified, but how quickly do you think that mechanism will work?
Oh, and here’s the real kicker: a gun violence restraining order doesn’t have a specified expiration date. It can continue for eternity, barring that person from ever purchasing or possessing guns again. Unless, that is, they petition the court to have their constitutional rights restored, and convince a judge otherwise. There is no trial by jury and no other recourse — the only way to get your rights back is on the opinion and decision of a single individual.
Things are going to suck in California here shortly. Well, more than they do already.