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.
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?