Why California's 'Red Flag' Gun Removal Law Is So Hard to Implement

Publication: KQED Radio

Shortly after a gunman in San Jose killed nine people and himself at a Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority rail yard on May 26, local and state officials put a renewed focus on California's "red flag" law, asking if it could have prevented the massacre.

Formally known as a gun violence restraining orders (GVRO), the law is designed to allow courts to take guns away from people who are deemed a danger to themselves or others. In 2014, California became one of the first states in the country to enact such legislation.

But not many law enforcement agencies have used the order, including those in Santa Clara County, where San Jose is located. 

... In 2019, California's law was expanded to allow co-workers, educators and employers to request the order, rather than just family members and law enforcement officers.

"We saw over and over again shootings occur at schools as well as at workplaces," said Assemblymember Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, who introduced the bill. "It made sense to expand gun violence restraining orders beyond the people who could get them."