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Local police departments use gun violence restraining orders

Posted at 6:23 PM, Nov 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-13 21:59:40-05

California's "Red Flag Law" allows family members and law enforcement to ask judges to remove guns from someone who is believed to be a danger to themselves or others.

The law went into effect in 2016. Just recently, the Pismo Beach Police Department used the law for the first time when it investigated reports of a man who was threatening his neighbor.

"We have to have probable cause to believe that the threat of injury or death is imminent, number one, that there is a firearm readily accessible to the person making the threat," said Detective Sergeant Anthony Hernandez, Pismo Beach Police Department.

Once police have reason to believe a threat is serious, they can petition for a gun restraining order.

This comes from Assembly Bill 1014 which says, "This bill would authorize a court to issue a temporary emergency gun violence restraining order."

The restraining order would limit the person deemed dangerous form owning, purchasing, and receiving a firearm.

The Arroyo Grande Police Department has also used the gun restraining order once in the past, when they say a woman who owned guns was having a mental breakdown.

"It's a good tool to have. With all the things going on in the world and people with mental issues or mental problems, firearms don't usually go hand in hand," said Sergeant Castillo, Arroyo Grande Police Department.

San Luis Obispo defense attorney Trace Milan thinks the law can be a tool to prevent shootings, but he says he's concerned with what could unfold after Governor Gavin Newsom recently approved a bill allowing co-workers, teachers, and employers to also petition for gun restraining orders.

"What this results in is the issuance of search warrants for law enforcement to enter into private homes. This is the 4th Amendment that all Americans should take very seriously," Milan said.

The new bill, AB 61, will go into effect in September 2020.