California’s Gun Violence Restraining Order Law

Introduction
On September 30, 2014, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law AB 1014, a bill to allow concerned family members or law enforcement officers to petition a court for a Gun Violence Restraining Order (GVRO). In situations where there is sufficient evidence for a judge to believe that an individual poses a danger to self or others, the GVRO will temporarily prohibit the individual from purchasing or possessing firearms or ammunition and allow law enforcement to remove any firearms or ammunition already in the individual’s possession. The new law, modeled after California’s existing domestic violence restraining order laws, goes into effect on January 1, 2016.1

AB1014 was introduced in response to the tragic shooting in Isla Vista in May 2014. The shooter there had exhibited warning signs of impending violence, yet no legal mechanism was available to his parents or law enforcement to take preventive action. Under California law, a variety of dangerous people are prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms or ammunition, including domestic abusers, as well as persons who have been involuntarily committed to a mental health facility “as a result of a mental health disorder” which makes them a danger to themselves or others. AB 1014 expands these protections by restricting access to firearms or ammunition by persons who exhibit dangerous or threatening behaviors, but who are not otherwise prohibited from possessing them.

Overview of the Three Types of GVROs
AB 1014 establishes three types of GVRO: a temporary emergency GVRO, an ex parte GVRO and a GVRO issued after notice and hearing. The law requires the Judicial Council to prescribe the form of the petitions, orders, and other relevant documents, and promulgate instructions for applying for all GVROs. When bringing a petition for any type of GVRO, the petitioner must describe in the petition the number, types, and locations of any firearms and ammunition presently believed to be in the subject of the petition’s possession or control. When any GVRO is issued, the presiding court is authorized—but not required—to issue a warrant instructing law enforcement to search and remove all firearms in the individual’s possession.

  • Temporary Emergency GVRO: Only a law enforcement officer may seek a temporary emergency GVRO by submitting a written petition to or calling a judicial officer to request an order at any time of day or night.
    • Standard for Issuing a Temporary Emergency GVRO: A temporary emergency GVRO may be issued if a law enforcement officer asserts, and a judicial officer finds, there is reasonable cause to believe that a person poses an immediate and present danger of injury to self or others by having a firearm in his or her possession and less restrictive alternatives have been ineffective, inadequate, or inappropriate.
    • Duration of a Temporary Emergency GVRO:  A temporary emergency GVRO is effective for 21 days from the date of issuance. A law enforcement officer may bring a petition for either an ex parte GVRO or more permanent GVRO (issued after notice and hearing) if he or she believes an extended restriction on a person’s access to firearms and ammunition is warranted.
  • Ex Parte GVRO: An immediate family member2 or law enforcement officer may request an ex parte GVRO.  Unlike a temporary emergency GVRO, a petition for an ex parte GVRO may only be brought during normal court hours.
    • Search of Firearm Ownership Records: Before a hearing to issue an ex parte GVRO, the court must ensure that a search of available databases and records is conducted to determine if the subject of the order owns a firearm.
    • Evidence for the Court’s Determination:The affidavit supporting a petition for the order must set forth the facts establishing the grounds for the petition. The court may consider the testimony from the petitioner and any witness for the petitioner before issuing the ex parte order.The court must consider the following types of evidence to determine whether to issue an ex parte GVRO:
      • Recent3 threat of violence or act of violence directed at another
      • Recent threat or act of violence directed toward himself or herself
      • Recent violation of a protective order of any kind
      • A conviction of a violent offense
      • A pattern of violent acts or threats within the past 12 months
      A court may also consider any other evidence of an increased risk for violence, including, but not limited to, evidence of any of the following:
      • The unlawful and reckless use, display, or brandishing of a firearm
      • The history of use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against another person
      • Any prior arrest for a felony offense
      • Any history of a violation of any protective order
      • Documentary evidence, including, but not limited to, police reports and records of convictions, of either recent criminal offenses that involve controlled substances or alcohol, or ongoing abuse of controlled substances or alcohol
      • Evidence of recent acquisition of firearms, ammunition, or other deadly weapons
    • Standard for Issuing an Ex Parte GVRO: A court may issue an ex parte GVRO against a person if the petitioner shows good cause to believe there is a substantial likelihood that the subject of the petition will, in the near future, cause personal injury to self or others by owning or possessing a firearm, and an ex parte GVRO is necessary to prevent such injury because less restrictive alternatives have been deemed ineffective, inadequate, or inappropriate.
    • Duration and Hearing for an Ex Parte GVRO: An ex parte GVRO may be ordered without a hearing and remains effective for 21 days. The court must provide a hearing for the restrained person within the 21-day effective period to determine whether a more permanent GVRO is warranted or if the order is no longer necessary and the firearms should be returned to the subject of the order.
  • GVRO after Notice and Hearing: At the hearing subsequent to issuing the ex parte GVRO, the court may consider further evidence and testimony from the restrained person seeking to terminate the order, the petitioner who sought the ex parte GVRO, and any witnesses produced by the petitioner to determine whether to issue a GVRO for one year. The evidentiary requirements and standard of review are similar to those required for an ex parte GVRO.
  • Relinquishment of Guns for all GVROs: A person who is served with a GVRO is required to immediately relinquish all firearms and ammunition in his or her possession. If a law enforcement officer is serving the order, all firearms and ammunition in the restrained person’s possession must be immediately relinquished to the law enforcement officer. The law enforcement officer must also take custody of any firearm or other deadly weapon in plain sight. If someone other than a law enforcement officer is serving the order, the respondent must either relinquish his or her firearms to the local law enforcement agency or sell them to a federally licensed firearms dealer within 24 hours of receiving the order.  A bill signed into law in 2015 also authorizes the respondent to opt to store his or her firearms and ammunition with a licensed dealer for the duration of the order, if the respondent pays any appropriate fees to store those weapons.
  • Search Warrant for all GVROs: A court issuing any kind of GVRO is authorized to issue a search warrant instructing law enforcement officers to perform a search for any firearms or ammunition in the person’s possession.
  • Reporting Requirements for all GVROs: The court must electronically notify the California Department of Justice (DOJ) and local district attorney within one court day of issuing a GVRO. The court must notify DOJ when the GVRO has been dissolved or terminated within five court days. DOJ must then note the updated status of any GVRO within fifteen days of receiving notice. The court must also notify the district attorney of the jurisdiction when a GVRO has been issued as well as when it has been dissolved or terminated.
  • Protections for Cohabitants:  Firearms and ammunition may not be seized pursuant to a warrant if they are owned by someone other than the subject of the GVRO and stored so that the subject doesn’t have access to them.  Also, a gun safe owned solely by someone else may not be searched without the owner’s consent.
  • Return of firearms after any GVRO Terminates or Expires: If the restrained person’s firearms are relinquished to law enforcement (instead of being sold to a dealer), law enforcement must retain the firearms or ammunition for the duration of the order and return them to the restrained person when the order expires, terminates, or dissolves.
  • Penalty for False Petitions:  The bill creates a misdemeanor penalty for any person who files a petition for a GVRO that contains statements the person knows are false, or with intent to harass the subject of the petition.

Legal Issues

  • Second Amendment: The GVRO process does not violate the Second Amendment. In the landmark case District of Columbia v. Heller, the Supreme Court determined that the Second Amendment guarantees the right of law-abiding, responsible citizens to keep a firearm in the home for self-defense. 554 U.S. 570, 679 (2008). However, the Supreme Court stated that the Second Amendment is “not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose,” and  made clear that a variety of laws are permissible under the Second Amendment, including those prohibiting firearm possession by felons and the mentally ill. Id. at626.
      In California, the courts have specifically held that “the state may ensure that firearms are not in the hands of someone who may use them dangerously” and dangerous people may be prohibited from possessing firearms consistent with their Second Amendment rights, as long as they are afforded adequate due process.

See City of San Diego v. Boggess

      , 216 Cal. App. 4th 1494 (2013);

People v. Jason K.

      , 188 Cal. App. 4th 1545 (2010). In 2013, an Indiana Court of Appeals upheld a similar gun violence restraining order law against a Second Amendment challenge and ruled that the state may restrict access to firearms by dangerous persons in the interest of public safety and welfare.

Redington v. Indiana,

    992 N.E.2d 823 (Ind. Ct. App. 2013). AB 1014 provides a mechanism to do exactly that&mdsash;keep deadly firearms out of the hands of dangerous persons in the interest of public safety and welfare.
  • Due Process: The procedures for obtaining temporary emergency and ex parte GVROs provide sufficient due process to protect Californians’ important constitutional rights. The law provides for a temporary (21 day) or a more permanent GVRO, which is effective for one year. However, the more permanent (one year) GVRO will only be issued after a full hearing before a judge. At this hearing, the burden is on the person bringing the petition for the order to prove by clear and convincing evidence that the named person poses a substantial likelihood of causing harm to self or others by possessing firearms or ammunition. If this burden is not met, the person may then regain the right to possess firearms or ammunition. In addition, the named individual may seek another hearing to terminate the order during the one-year period of its duration. Similar procedures are in place in the domestic violence restraining order context and courts across the nation have uniformly upheld these procedures. See, e.g., Nollet v. Justices of the Trial Court, 83 F. Supp. 2d 204 (D.C. Mass. 2000); Blazel v. Bradley, 698 F. Supp. 756 (W.D. Wis. 1988); Baker v. Baker, 494 N.W.2d 282 (Minn. 1992).

 

Nothing contained in this document is intended as legal advice to any person or entity and should not be regarded as such. The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence and its attorneys provide general information about gun laws to interested groups, individuals and legislators. Law Center attorneys do not represent clients and do not form attorney-client relationships. You should not consider communications with the Law Center or its attorneys to be confidential unless we have agreed to such confidentiality.

Copyright 2014 by the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

All rights reserved. Unauthorized use or distribution is prohibited.

Notes
  1. Connecticut and Indiana have enacted similar laws; however, in those states, only law enforcement may seek to remove firearms from dangerous individuals. California is the first state to adopt a law enabling immediate family members to bring a petition for a GVRO. ⤴︎
  2. “Immediate family member” is defined as “any spouse, whether by marriage or not, domestic partner, parent, child, any person related by consanguinity or affinity within the second degree, or any other person who regularly resides in the household, or who, within the prior six months, regularly resided in the household.” Cal. Pen. Code § 422.4. ⤴︎
  3. “Recent” is defined as within six months prior to the date the petition is filed. ⤴︎

California, Vote YES on Proposition 63 on Election Day

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This November, California voters will have the chance to usher in a new set of laws designed to make the state safer from the tragic incidents of gun violence that forever change the lives of hundreds of people a day in the United States. The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence is proud to stand with Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom in supporting Proposition 63, the Safety for All act, a series of lifesaving smart gun laws that will further California’s commitment to improving public safety. We’ve been working on this initiative for more than a year, drafting the language, testifying before the state legislature, advocating to the media, and building coalitions to support for this set of commonsense gun laws.

We worked with the Lt. Governor to draft the policy last year, which closes some glaring gaps in the state’s otherwise leading-edge gun laws—one of only six states to score an A- on our Gun Law State Scorecard. Our attorneys have been drafting gun policy in our home state for more than two decades, and are thrilled at the opportunity to lend our expertise and support to this lifesaving set of laws.

Prop 63 includes seven provisions that will:

  • Require Background Checks on Ammunition Sales: The initiative requires licensing of ammunition vendors and point-of-sale background checks for ammunition purchases. Under Prop 63, if a person is convicted of a felony, a violent misdemeanor, has a protective order against them, or has been adjudicated dangerously mentally ill, that person will no longer be able to buy ammunition in California. This provision will make California the first state to require ammunition background checks at the point of sale.
  • Ensure People Prohibited from Owning Guns Do Not Possess Them: This provision will help enforce laws already on the books and close a deadly gap in existing laws that allows dangerous offenders to illegally keep their guns after being convicted of major crimes. For more information on the importance of relinquishment laws, check out Keeping Illegal Guns Out of Dangerous Hands: America’s Deadly Relinquishment Gap.
  • Require Reporting Lost or Stolen Guns: The initiative requires firearm owners to notify law enforcement if their gun has been lost or stolen. If Prop 63 is enacted, California will join 11 other states in requiring lost or stolen reporting, helping to break up gun trafficking rings, return stolen guns to lawful owners, and reduce the number of firearms entering the black market.
  • Prohibit Possession of Large-Capacity Military-Style Magazines: Prop 63 prohibits the possession of large-capacity magazines of 11 rounds or more and provides for their legal disposal. If passed, California would join New York, New Jersey, Hawaii, and the District of Columbia in banning possession of these military-style magazines, the accessory of choice to make mass shootings even more deadly.
  • Require that gun dealers conduct employee background checks and report lost or stolen ammunition: Prop 63 ensures that people who work for gun dealers pass annual background checks in order to sell or handle deadly weapons and requires dealers to notify police if ammunition is lost or stolen from them. This provision will combat weapons trafficking, keeping stolen guns and ammunition off the black market.
  • Clarify the consequences of gun theft: Prop 63 clarifies that gun theft—no matter the value of the firearm—is a felony, making it illegal for people convicted of stealing firearms to purchase or possess them.

California has long led the nation when it comes to championing the smart gun laws that save lives, and Prop 63 reinforces that leadership by keeping guns and ammunition away from dangerous members of our society. We’re proud to stand with Lt. Governor Newsom in the fight to bring sanity back to America’s gun laws, and we urge all Californians to vote YES on Prop 63 on November 8.

Learn more about the Prop 63 initiative.

A Suffering Nation in Need of Peace

Dallas Police Shooting Original

Hate and violence tore through Dallas, Texas on Thursday night, in a reprehensible attack on law enforcement that sought to further divide Americans as they peacefully gathered to mourn lives lost earlier this week to deadly force. Five Dallas law enforcement officers were murdered, and seven more were injured, as were two civilians, by a sniper who carried out his attack during a nonviolent protest over the shooting deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. This horrific event specifically targeted police as they carried out their duty to protect the demonstrators.

As more details emerge, one fact is already clear. This gunman was motivated by hate, and hate is enabled and amplified by too-easy access to firearms. We see so many types of shootings each year committed by individuals acting out hateful agendas driven by a wide variety of factors: gang-related activity, ties to terrorist organizations, domestic abuse, and mass shootings of all kinds. These tragedies all have one significant thing in common: a gun in the hands of a person who wishes to do lethal harm to others. Guns escalate dangerous situations into deadly ones, and under our nation’s current gun laws, it’s too easy for that escalation to occur.

Our lawmakers have an urgent responsibility to change the bloody status quo by enacting smart gun laws that prevent deadly weapons from falling into the wrong hands. After years of being stymied at the federal level, we were heartened to see leaders in Washington standing up for stronger gun laws after the shooting in Orlando. Those lawmakers now have every opportunity to continue the momentum and enact commonsense solutions that will help protect our communities from tragedy.

State lawmakers have seen great success getting such laws passed since the massacre at Sandy Hook, enacting more than 140 smart gun laws in 42 states, but there is still much work to be done, particularly in places like Texas. Texas received an F on our Gun Law State Scorecard and has continued to weaken its gun laws over the past year, when it became an open-carry state and enacted a law requiring that guns be allowed on college campuses. And Texas currently doesn’t require background checks for firearms transfers between unlicensed individuals or regulate transfer or possession of assault weapons or large capacity magazines—all commonsense measures that we know reduce gun violence and save lives.

We don’t have a panacea for stopping dangerous people from wanting to harm and kill. But we do know how to fix our gun laws in ways that will reduce the supply of dangerous guns, and close loopholes that let people who want to commit acts of hate obtain them.

Last night’s tragic shooting also comes as we still struggle to process the devastating deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. The protesters in Dallas were seeking justice for two men who were subjected to brutal violence that disproportionately affects African-Americans. Although gun violence, racial bias, and police use of deadly force are complex issues, easy access to guns makes everything worse. As we have seen, guns escalate dangerous situations into deadly ones, and the proliferation of guns in America has made fear a part of everyday life for both citizens and police officers.

As we grapple with these difficult issues, we should not lose sight of our common enemy: hate and divisiveness, the fuel for the deadly actions that took the lives of police officers in Dallas and take the lives of more Americans every day. On this dark day, our hearts are with the families of Lorne Ahrens, Michael Krol, Michael Smith, Brent Thompson, and Patrick Zamarripa; the families of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile; and the families of the more than 117,000 other Americans shot every year.

 

To learn more about Texas gun laws, see our policy page.

Read our statement about the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.

Gov. Jerry Brown Signs Six Smart Gun Laws in California

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This year, the California Legislature introduced a record number of gun safety bills. We’re thrilled to report that Governor Brown has signed six of these lifesaving measures into law.

Today’s news represents a tremendous step in the right direction, as California has long led the nation when it comes to enacting smart gun laws–we rank the state first in our annual Gun Law State Scorecard for consistently adopting bold new solutions to save lives from the epidemic of gun violence.

The bills Governor Brown signed will promote public safety by strengthening the state’s assault weapon ban to prohibit the sale of “bullet-button” rifles like the ones used in last year’s deadly massacre in San Bernardino, requiring background checks on ammunition purchasers, and prohibiting the possession of large capacity ammunition magazines

We’re proud to have testified in support these bills as they made their way through the statehouse and are delighted that Governor Brown signed them into law. These new pieces of legislation add to the unprecedented momentum for commonsense gun safety policies we’ve seen at the state level in recent years, and we’re as committed as ever to the fight for public safety in our home state.

But there’s still more work to be done, and we’re confident that by continuing to work with our powerful legislative coalition partners and our supporters, we can bring California’s pioneering gun laws to all 50 states.

 

To read more about California’s smart gun laws, see our policy page.

To see how your state stacks up when it comes to commonsense gun safety laws, see our Gun Law State Scorecard.

In the Thick of It: 2016’s Busy Legislative Cycle

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Across the country, new gun legislation is being proposed at a steady pace, and our attorneys are hard at work, writing model laws, educating lawmakers and the public on smart gun laws, and tracking these bills as they wind their way through the legislative system. Last year, we tracked more than 1,300 bills and expect this year to be another busy one for smart gun laws at the state level—not to mention the ballot initiatives that will enable voters to enact lifesaving smart gun laws this November. For a full analysis of this cycle’s firearms legislation, visit our biweekly publication Gun Law Trendwatch.

We’ve started the year with critical victories in key states:

  • In Georgia, Governor Nathan Deal vetoed a deadly bill that would have allowed anyone over 21 to carry a concealed, loaded weapon on college campuses, which would have increased the opportunity for violent shootings.
  • In Nebraska, lawmakers stopped progress on a preemption bill that would have prevented municipalities from enacting lifesaving local laws, like ones that keep guns away from domestic violence shelters and prevent juvenile gang members and the dangerously mentally ill from obtaining deadly weapons.
  • In New Mexico, lawmakers passed powerful, bipartisan legislation to strengthen that state’s background check system by requiring state courts to report mental health records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). Closing this gap in the background checks law will help keep guns from falling into the wrong hands.
  • In Florida, lawmakers stopped progress on an open carry bill, which would have allowed 1.5 million people with concealed weapons permits to openly carry handguns in the Sunshine State.

The most exciting advances for smart gun laws still lie ahead—this November, voters in Maine and Nevada will see initiatives for universal background checks on their ballots. And signatures were recently turned in for two more ballot initiatives: one for Washington State to adopt a gun violence protective order (GVPO) law and another in California to support the Safety for All Act, sponsored by Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom.

We’re also keeping an eye on some extreme examples of gun lobby–sponsored legislation that pose a significant risk to public safety, including an Arizona bill to permit guns in government buildings and a bill in Oklahoma to allow people to carry guns in public without a permit, a top priority in the gun lobby’s deadly agenda.

Our legal experts stand on the front lines of the fight for smart gun laws that save lives—our attorneys track and analyze gun laws in all 50 states, file amicus briefs in critical Second Amendment cases across the country, and work with lawmakers and advocates to craft and promote legislation that will reduce gun violence and save lives. 2016 is shaping up to be another remarkable year for gun safety.

To learn more about the gun laws moving through statehouses this year, check out Gun Law Trendwatch.

Extremism Leaves a Nation on Edge


Yesterday, the United States suffered yet another mass shooting—our 355th of the year. Fourteen were killed and 21 injured after two shooters rampaged through the Inland Regional Center in San Bernadino, California. Reports are emerging that the suspects were radicalized and have links to known terrorists.

Just days before, a Colorado Springs shopping center and Planned Parenthood fell under siege as a man radically opposed to abortion engaged in an hours-long standoff with law enforcement, killing three and injuring nine others with a semiautomatic rifle.

Four men have been charged in the November 23 shooting at a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Minneapolis, wounding five—an incident which authorities believe was racially motivated.

We need reform at the state and federal levels. We’re tired of our lawmakers offering their thoughts and prayers—those won’t stop the next mass shooter, or any of the 88 gun deaths we average per day. We’re ready for swift and decisive action to stop the 117,000 shootings the United States sees each year. And we know you are too. Our executive director, Robyn Thomas, wrote this op-ed for the Daily Dot on just how ready the American public is for the smart gun laws that will save lives.

…Action is needed. We are collectively answerable to the victims of gun violence and to an ever-growing community of grieving family members for the policies our leaders enact, or fail to enact, to protect our communities. We need to do more than just tweet sympathy—we need to force our leaders to pass the smart gun laws that the research has proven again and again save lives.

Polls have repeatedly shown that the American public is in broad agreement about what must be done to prevent gun violence. Over 90 percent of Americans support closing the loophole that allows felons, domestic abusers and the dangerously mentally ill to buy guns without a background check. Yet, thanks to pressure from the gun lobby, Congress has failed to act…

Read more…

While these shooters were all motivated by different factors and separated by hundreds of miles, a common thread ties the incidents together: it’s all too easy for extremists, zealots, and bigots to get their hands on deadly weapons when the impulse to inflict harm became too powerful to resist.

Read the full text of Robyn’s op-ed

For more information on California’s gun laws, see our policy page.

For more information on how your state stacks up when it comes to smart gun laws, see our annual Gun Law State Scorecard.

 

 

Bauer v. Harris: Defending $19 Fee Imposed on Firearm Sales in California

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Case Information: Bauer v. Harris, No. 15-15428 (9th Cir. Brief Filed Oct. 22, 2015)

At Issue: This case involves a Second Amendment challenge to the use of the $19 Dealer Record of Sale (“DROS”) fee — imposed by the State of California on the sale of all firearms — to fund the Armed Prohibited Persons System (APPS), which is used to disarm individuals who have previously purchased a firearm, but who have subsequently become prohibited from firearm possession because of a criminal conviction or other disqualifying event. The district court for the Eastern District of California upheld the DROS fee as a “presumptively lawful” condition placed on the commercial sale of firearms. The case in now on appeal before the Ninth Circuit.

The Law Center’s Brief:  The brief argues that the district court correctly determined that the use of the DROS fee to fund APPS does not violate the Second Amendment as it is a “presumptively lawful” condition on the commercial sale of firearms. Moreover, even if this use of the DROS fee were to burden Second Amendment rights, it is valid because it is substantially related to the important government interest of reducing gun crime and violence. Finally, the brief explains the important role played by the DROS fee and the APPS program in addressing gun violence and the unique success that California has had in reducing gun violence through comprehensive firearms regulation.

Read the full text of our amicus brief here.

The President is Right: Thoughts and Prayers Are Not Enough

 

We find ourselves, yet again, in the aftermath of another tragic school shooting–this time at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. A gunman opened fire on campus last Thursday, killing nine students and injuring seven others. The incident was the 142nd school shooting since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary, and the 294th mass shooting in the United States this year–which means we’ve averaged more than one mass shooting per day.

And again we’re left wondering when the political agenda set by our lawmakers will follow the will of the people. We know the vast majority of Americans support commonsense solutions that save lives from gunfire. 92 percent of Americans support universal background checks—and 92 percent of gun owners do too. It’s time our laws and leadership reflected that support, a sentiment our executive director, Robyn Thomas, expressed in a recent New York Times op-ed.

Hours after last week’s tragedy, President Barack Obama spoke of the urgent need for smart gun laws like universal background checks and gun violence protective orders—we applaud his leadership, and the Law Center is proud to stand with President Obama in the fight to bring some sanity to our gun laws.

“And it will require that the American people, individually, whether you are a Democrat or a Republican or an independent, when you decide to vote for somebody, are making a determination as to whether this cause of continuing death for innocent people should be a relevant factor in your decision,” the president said on Thursday. “If you think this is a problem, then you should expect your elected officials to reflect your views.”

We agree—Americans must start holding their lawmakers accountable when it comes to passing the kind of legislation that could help prevent another Roseburg—or Charleston, or Lafayette, or Chattanooga, or any of the other 294 mass shootings this year—from happening.

  • Gun Violence Protective Orders: Also known as gun violence restraining orders, these laws empower families and law enforcement to petition a judge to remove guns from individuals who pose a risk to themselves or others. Shooters often exhibit dangerous warning signs and GVPO laws help keep guns away from people with the intent to harm. California passed a landmark GVPO law last year in response to the shooting at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
  • Limiting bulk purchase of guns and regulating ammunition sales: Firearms purchased in “multiple sales” are more frequently used in crimes, and mass shooters often stockpile ammunition, as seen in the 2012 mass shooting in an Aurora, CO cinema that left 12 dead and 28 injured.

The Law Center has made preventing mass shootings a top priority for over two decades—our organization was founded in the wake of a 1993 assault weapon rampage that killed eight and left six wounded. Our lawyers track gun laws in all 50 states, which we compile into our annual Gun Law State ScorecardIn 2014, we gave Oregon a D+ for their gun laws.

We already know what steps need to be taken to prevent the senseless killings that occur in communities across the United States. And while 117 new smart gun laws have been enacted in 39 states since Newtown, many lawmakers at the state and federal level continue to bow to the gun lobby’s deadly agenda. The Law Center is on the front lines of the battle against gun violence, and we need you to raise your voice in support of smart gun laws. Become a member today and join us in demanding more from the leaders that we elect to represent us—help us save lives. 

For more information about gun laws in Oregon, visit our policy page.

For a comprehensive analysis and state by state ranking of gun laws across the United States, visit our Gun Law State Scorecard.

Pena v. Lindley: Amicus Brief Defending California’s Unsafe Handgun Act

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Case InformationPena v. Lindley,  No. 15-15449 (9th Cir. Brief Filed Sept. 28, 2015)

At Issue: This case presents a Second Amendment challenge to the California Unsafe Handgun Act (“UHA”), which requires that all handguns must meet certain safety requirements before they may be sold within the State. The district court from the Eastern District of California rejected this challenge, noting that the UHA is a regulation on the commercial sale of arms and is therefore a “presumptively lawful” regulation falling outside the scope of the Second Amendment. The case is now on appeal before the Ninth Circuit.

The Law Center’s Brief: The Law Center’s brief addresses the importance of the Unsafe Handgun Act in keeping cheap and poorly made handguns off of the streets in California. The brief argues that the district court correctly concluded that the UHA law falls outside the scope of the Second Amendment, as it merely places a condition on the commercial sale of handguns and does not act as a prohibition. In the alternative, even if the UHA does burden conduct protected by the Second Amendment, it easily passes constitutional review under intermediate scrutiny, which is the appropriate level of review in this context, because of the minimal burden that the UHA imposes on the right to possess a firearm in the home for self-defense.

Read the full text of our amicus brief here.

Keeping California on the Leading Edge of Smart Gun Laws

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The Law Center is committed to continuing to shape California’s common-sense approach to responsible gun ownership and safety. Our attorneys are busy: tracking laws, testifying at public safety hearings, and working alongside lawmakers to pass legislation that will keep the Golden State a model for the rest of the nation when it comes to enacting smart gun laws that save lives.

California’s 2015 legislative session has now concluded, and we are proud that the Governor signed SB 707 (“gun-free school zone”) to eliminate a dangerous loophole in California’s Gun-Free School Zone Act by prohibiting individuals licensed to carry concealed handguns from carrying concealed, loaded weapons onto school grounds without the written permission of school officials. This legislation will help ensure that school administrators have the discretion they need to provide students with a safe and secure learning environment.

To learn more about all of the firearm-related bills introduced in the California State Legislature this year, check out our comprehensive 2015 California Legislative Summary below.

For more info on legislative trends that are currently developing nationwide, read our 2015 State Gun Law Trendwatch.

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