California adopted 15 firearms-related bills last Friday, including a controversial ‘red flag’ gun confiscation law which adds co-workers, employers and educators to the list of who can file a gun violence restraining order on those they say are a danger to themselves and others. Currently, only law enforcement and immediate family members can apply to temporarily confiscate peoples’ firearms. Most of the new laws take effect January 1, according to the LA Times.
Signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) after being vetoed twice by his Democratic predecessor Jerry Brown (who said that educators can work through family members or law enforcement if a restraining order is required), the gun confiscation bill is so broad that the ACLU said it “poses a significant threat to civil liberties” since guns can be seized from owners before they have an opportunity to contest the requests, and those making the requests may “lack the relationship or skills required to make an appropriate assessment,” NBC San Diego reports.
All that’s needed for a co-worker or educator to file a complaint is to have had “substantial and regular interactions” with gun owners, along with permission from their employers or school administrators. Those seeking the orders will be required to file a sworn statement outlining their concerns.
The author of the bill, Democratic Assemblyman Phil Ting of San Francisco, said that “With school and workplace shootings on the rise, it’s common sense to give the people we see every day the power to intervene and prevent tragedies,” citing a recent study which found that 21 mass shootings may have been prevented by a gun restraining order.
Meanwhile, a companion bill signed by Newsom and written by Democratic Assemblywoman Jacqui Irwin of Thousand Oaks allows gun violence restraining orders to last one and five years, though gun owners would be allowed to petition the state to get their guns back earlier. In another Ting-authored companion bill, gun owners who agree to voluntarily surrender their firearms can notify the court via a form, vs. a hearing which Ting says wastes time and resources.