California Officials, Gun Violence Survivors Announce Launch of California Gun Violence Restraining Order

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  January 7, 2016
MEDIA CONTACT: Andrew.Patrick83@gmail.com, Cell: (828) 712-7603
New Law Allows Family Members and Law Enforcement to Petition to Remove Guns from A Person in Crisis 

Los Angeles, CA – State officials, gun safety activists, and gun violence survivors will hold a press conference Thursday morning to announce the implementation of California’s new Gun Violence Restraining Order (GVRO) law.

As we see in many of the high-profile shootings that have become all too familiar— family members and intimate partners are often the first who know their loved ones are at-risk of dangerous behavior, but lack a mechanism to separate them from firearms while in these periods of crisis. The groundbreaking GVRO law that just went into effect on January 1st, provides an important tool for immediate family members and law enforcement to temporarily disarm these individuals we know are at a heightened risk of violence.

One of the driving forces behind the law’s passage came from the knowledge that the parents of the Isla Vista shooter had called law enforcement out of the fear that he was a risk to himself/others, but were unable to prevent him from getting the guns that he ended up using to kill 6 and wound 7 that Memorial Day weekend. Similarly, this Friday marks the 5-year anniversary of the shooting in Tucson, AZ that wounded 13, including Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, and left 6 dead. This was yet another instance where family members desperately searched for ways to separate their son from firearms, but lacked the means to do so.

Bob Weiss, whose daughter was killed at UC-Santa Barbara, along with “the Hero of Tucson” Pat Maisch, who knocked the second magazine out the shooter’s hand while he was reloading during the shooting in Tucson, Arizona, will be speaking about how a tool like the GVRO could have a real impact on these violent acts.

The GVRO is a mechanism that restricts firearm access on a case-by-case basis. A family member or law enforcement officer would request that a judge issue a GVRO based on the facts that are presented in a written application and during a formal hearing. It allows for the removal of a firearm in a volatile situation even when no crime has been committed or when an individual doesn’t meet the criteria for an involuntary civil commitment for mental health treatment. The GVRO is intentionally modeled in the image of the effective Domestic Violence Restraining Order (DVRO) to assure every subject full due process of the law.

“Gun Violence Restraining Orders will save lives”, said Feuer.  “As California becomes the first state to put this landmark law in place, we will do everything possible to make sure it is effective- here in Los Angeles, and throughout the state.”

We know California has more than eight firearm-related deaths every day on average which accounted for 2,942 total deaths in 2014. Similar to national data, the majority of gun deaths in California are suicides. Suicides accounted for more than fifty percent of all California firearm deaths in 2014. The GVRO law will allow family members to work with law enforcement and the courts to prevent many of these tragedies from taking place.

“We need to take an evidence-based approach to assure that individuals with an elevated risk of dangerousness don’t have access to firearms,” said Josh Horwitz, executive director of the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence. “The GVRO going into effect in California will provide family members—those who know their loved ones best—a much needed tool to separate those in crisis from deadly weapons while simultaneously allowing these same individuals to seek the help they often desperately need.”

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The Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence (Ed Fund) was founded in 1978 as a 501(c)(3) affiliate organization of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. The Ed Fund seeks to secure freedom from gun violence through research, strategic engagement and effective policy advocacy.

www.efsgv.org

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