‘Gun Violence Restraining Order’ is needless, dangerous

5

California Gov. Jerry Brown just signed a bit of pointless California Über Alles gun regulation into law. That’s not atypical and usually not newsworthy, but there are still a few public officials who view his state as some sort of model for anti-gun policy.

These things tend to shift east over time, regardless of the merits of the law.CaliforniaUberAlles

California’s new “Gun Violence Restraining Order” (AB 1014) is worrisome not just because of its clear Second Amendment implications. It is just plain dangerous.

The law allows police,  family members or even roommates to petition a judge to stop someone from buying or possessing a firearm if they believe the gun owner is a danger to himself or others.

If the judge agrees and the guns are taken away, the restraining order is reassessed after 14 days to determine if the former gun owner no longer poses a danger to himself or others.

A couple problems immediately come to mind.

First the law’s threshold – a danger to self or others – is the same standard used for a civil involuntary commitment.  If the person poses a danger to himself or other, they should be committed to a secure institution where they can be evaluated, treated and safeguarded from harm.

Merely taking their guns away is not a viable solution to someone who is hellbent on ending their life or taking another. It’s just posturing.

There’s a lot of other types of violence out there.

Are police going to also remove knives, ball bats, prescription medications, alcohol, drain cleaner, hammers, rope, swimming pools, cars, tall buildings, bed sheets, nylons, razor blades, tire irons, cross bows, piano stool legs, 2″x4″s, cast iron frying pans, golf clubs, jack stands, gasoline – in addition to hands, feet, elbows and teeth?

According to the law, the penalty for making a false statement is a misdemeanor. However, I see a huge potential for misuse, especially during divorce proceedings.

The law was one of a suite of anti-gun bills pushed hard by the Brady group, along with California sheriff’s and psychiatric groups.

They’re already celebrating its passage: “We applaud Governor Brown for signing AB 1014 into law that will keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people,” Nick and Amanda Wilcox, legislative co-chairs of the California Chapters of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said in a press release last week. “The new ‘Gun Violence Restraining Order’ law will give families and law enforcement a needed tool to reduce the risk of mass shootings and gun violence both in the home and on our streets.”

No one wants firearms in the hands of someone who’s not competent to own them. However, when someone crosses the danger to self or others threshold, they need immediate care, not a restraining order. Police and family members should focus on the individual, not their guns.

If the person is truly a danger to self or others, committing them to a psychiatric institution will safeguard them from their firearms. It will also provide them with round-the-clock care, and keep them away from knives, ball bats, prescription medications, alcohol, drain cleaner, hammers, rope, swimming pools, cars, tall buildings, bed sheets, nylons, razor blades, tire irons, cross bows, piano stool legs, 2″x4″s, cast iron frying pans, golf clubs, jack stands, gasoline – in addition to hands, feet, elbows and teeth.

As a police officer, I encountered many people who were experiencing a crisis and in dire need of acute mental health care. I also saw the aftermath of what occurred when care was not provided in a timely manner.

This law seems to have been written by folks who have never left their office.

Its stated intent is to stop mass shootings. If that is actually the goal, the authors need to ask themselves one question: How many mass shootings have been committed by someone while they were a patient held behind the bars of a secure mental health facility?

Share.

About Author

Lee Williams can’t remember a time in his life when he wasn’t shooting. Before becoming a journalist, Lee served in the Army and worked as a police officer. He’s earned more than a dozen journalism awards as a reporter, and three medals of valor as a cop. He is an NRA-certified law enforcement firearms instructor, an avid tactical shooter and a training junkie. When he’s not busy as a senior investigative reporter, he is usually shooting his AKs, XDs and CZs. If you don’t run into him at a local gun range, you can reach him at 941.284.8553, by email, or by regular mail to 1777 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236. You can follow him on Twitter: @HT_GunWriter and on Facebook @The Gun Writer.

5 Comments

  1. [Are police going to also remove knives, ball bats…]

    Anyone remember that half the people murdered in the Santa Barbara “shooting” that prompted this law were stabbed to death, and several of the injured were run over with a car?

    However, I don’t think that’s going to be as much of a problem as predicted here. Consider how many times someone calls police on a “dangerous” family member who is UNARMED, and the family member ends up shot to death. Now guess what will happen to your loved one if you call the cops and tell them he is “dangerous” and ARMED.

    A deadly law indeed.

  2. Oh, I’m sure this law will never be abused by …
    – your crazy ultra-liberal sister in law you just refused to loan money to.
    – a greedy relative to disarm someone so they or an accomplice can rob or kill them easier.
    – an angry spouse suing for divorce.
    – a jilted lover-roommate or a roomie you’ve given an eviction notice to.

    No… there’s no potential here for abuse at all.

    And no doubt the prosecutors will be less than enthusiastic about prosecuting “false complaints” just because some gun owner was “merely” inconvenienced for 2 weeks.

    Never mind that gun owners will be required to pay for and go through a background check and a 10-day waiting period to get their own property back. Never mind the potential for damage, rusting, theft or destruction their property will face while waiting for the paperwork.

  3. Pingback: Bloomberg’s New Angle On Gun Control

Leave A Reply