California’s Red Flag Gun Law To Expand September 1

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

California’s Red Flag Gun Law To Expand September 1(Sacramento, CA) – Next month, California is giving more people access to a court process that could lead to the temporary removal of someone’s firearms when they pose a danger to themselves or others. AB 61 by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) adds educators, employers and co-workers to the list of people who can file a Gun Violence Restraining Order (GVRO). Under California’s current red flag gun law, only law enforcement and immediate family members can do so.

“Before COVID-19, we saw school and workplace shootings on the rise. The trend could continue once classrooms and offices are back in use again. It makes sense to give the people we see every day the power to intervene and prevent tragedies,” said Ting.

To prevent possible misuse, teachers and other staff must go through school administrators to file a GVRO; and co-workers must seek the assistance of their Human Resources Department.

In California, there are two ways a GVRO can be granted by a judge:

  • For a duration of one to five years, after a court hearing; or,
  • For a duration of 21 days, immediately (can also be extended after a court hearing).

Since the original GVRO law took effect in 2016, more than 1,700 removal orders have been issued – the bulk of which came last year:












The rise in GVRO usage can be attributed to increased awareness. When Ting noted the slow adoption of this valuable tool, he enlisted the help of San Diego City Attorney Mara W. Elliott, who had experience successfully utilizing it in partnership with the San Diego Police Department. With funds allocated from the state budget, she and her team trained other law enforcement agencies throughout California over the last two years on how GVROs can keep communities safe.  

“Gun Violence Restraining Orders have helped my Office remove more than 600 firearms from dangerous individuals who’ve threatened violence against family members, intimate partners, bystanders, colleagues, and classmates,” San Diego City Attorney Mara W. Elliott said. “Because of Assemblymember Ting's leadership, this lifesaving tool can now be accessed directly by educators, employers, and co-workers who are in a position to prevent gun violence.”

Nineteen states, plus the District of Columbia, have a version of red flag gun laws on the books. The majority of the measures were enacted after the 2018 Parkland, FL shooting at Marjory Douglas Stoneman High School that killed 17 people & wounded 17 others.                     

“Due to Assemblymember Ting’s leadership, Californians will now have a greater opportunity to help prevent tragedies, as AB61 expands the types of individuals empowered to seek a Gun Violence Restraining Order. This helps ensure that those most at risk of harm to themselves or others do not have access to firearms to make a temporary crisis a permanent tragedy. This newest law will make our state safer. Brady California is proud to stand with Assemblymember Ting today, as this bill becomes law and begins to save more lives,” said Amanda Wilcox, Legislative Chair of Brady California.

Researchers at the Violence Prevention Research Program at UC Davis closely examined a sample of individuals who were subjected to a GVRO and found none were involved in subsequent gun-related violence. While the 2019 study cited how difficult it is to say how many incidents were prevented, it is reasonable to conclude GVROs play a role in reducing the chance of gun-related violence.

AB 61 takes effect September 1, 2020.

*Downloadable TV Soundbites:

*Downloadable Radio Soundbites:

*Asm. Ting says he has been working to expand GVROs for several years. GVRO 1a.mp3

*Asm Ting says a judge must approve any GVRO and more than 1-thousand were approved last year.

*Asm Ting says the state is working to educate law enforcement, Das and the public about how to use GVROs.

*Asm Ting, the father of two children, says his decision to introduce GVRO legislation was prompted by the Newtown School shooting.

*Asm Ting says the GVROs are tool for the citizens to use to reduce gun violence.

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