The Washington Post

New California bill would let authorities temporarily remove guns in some cases

This image from video posted on YouTube shows Elliot Rodger. (AP Photo/YouTube)

On Wednesday, in response to the Isla Vista shootings, a new bill was introduced in the California legislature that would give families, neighbors, friends and law enforcement the ability to appeal to a judge to temporarily remove firearms while a court determines a person’s competency.

State Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), who introduced Assembly Bill 1014, said it would function like a temporary restraining order, providing people who were the subject of the court action with due process rights to make their case to keep their firearms. If they did not prevail, they could also appeal to the court to have them returned at a later date, after the court deems the person to no longer be a threat to themselves or to others.

The bill would not give the court or authorities the ability to remove other weapons, like knives, which were used by Rodger to kill his two roommates as well as a college friend who was visiting the two young men.

“This is a common sense tool that could be used by a family member, a roommate or a concerned friend who saw clear warning signals that a person was a clear threat of violence to themselves or others,” Skinner said in an interview.

The legal language for the bill was drafted immediately after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School last year that left 20 children and six adult staff members dead. It was set aside, in favor of a package of other bills that seemed to have greater support at the time.

Following last week’s shooting death of six University of California, Santa Barbara, students, Skinner said it was “crystal clear” it was time to seek the new law. The bill is modeled after similar laws in Texas, Indiana and Connecticut.

Brandon Combs, President of the California Association of Federal Firearms Licensees, said his group will also oppose this bill. “Frankly, what we are talking about here is a turn in your neighbor provision. We simply cannot abide by that.”

Although the National Rifle Association has not responded to the Post’s requests for comment, and has not issued a press release since last week’s shootings, it has sent members letters and e-mails telling them they are resolved to fight any gun-control legislation that may arise.

For those with lapsed NRA memberships, an e-mail was sent on Wednesday asking them to renew their memberships, saying their “constitutional right to own a gun is under attack by anti-gun politicians, gun ban bureaucrats, and the freedom-hating media elite.”

Kimberly Kindy is a national investigative reporter at The Washington Post.



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