Calif. Senate Passes Bill to Allow Gun Seizures Upon Family Concern

Thursday, 28 Aug 2014 03:52 PM

By John Blosser

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The California Senate has passed a bill allowing authorities to remove firearms from anyone whose family reports that they may commit a violent crime.

The San Jose Mercury News reports that the Senate passed AB1014 and the controversial bill is now on its way to the California Assembly for a vote expected soon. 

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Passage of the bill was given impetus by the May 23 shooting at UC Santa Barbara, Isla Vista, where six were killed and 13 wounded by Elliot Rodger, 22, who killed himself and had posted disturbing YouTube videos before the shooting.

Rodger's parents had contacted police three weeks before his violent rampage, but police were unable under existing law to search his apartment or confiscate his firearms, since Rodger had not been placed under an involuntary mental health commitment.

Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, who co-authored the bill, told the Mercury News, "Family members are often the first to spot the warning signs when someone is in crisis. This provides an effective tool to get guns out of the hands of loved ones to avoid these tragedies."

However, Sen. Jim Nelson, R-Gerber, expressed concern, telling the Washington Times, "It does seem we use every tragedy to disarm the law-abiding citizens." 

Passed by a 23-8 vote, the legislation would allow family members or law enforcement officials to ask a judge to issue a temporary restraining order blocking a person from possessing a firearm when they may pose a threat. The bill, modeled on domestic violence legislation, would allow seizure of firearms and ban new purchases of firearms for up to one year under such an order. Under current law, seizure of guns is allowed only if a therapist notifies authorities that a patient poses a risk.

Three states, Connecticut, Indiana and Texas, have similar laws on the books allowing law enforcement to seek gun seizure from those they deem to pose a danger.

"No one wants mentally disturbed individuals who are an imminent danger to themselves and others to be allowed to commit some act of tragic proportions, but this bill unfortunately does not resolve this concern," Sam Paredes, executive director of Gun Owners of California, told the Mercury News.

Passage of the Senate bill follows a recent defeat handed California anti-gun forces when a federal judge struck down a 10-day waiting period for the purchase of guns by those who have passed a background check and have a permit to own a gun or a concealed carry permit, Fox News reports. 

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