Sacramento, CA – Less than two weeks after the Poway shooting, the California State Assembly today affirmed its commitment to preventing more gun violence by approving AB 61, by a vote of 54-17.
The bill by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) enables more Californians to petition a court for a Gun Violence Restraining Order (GVRO) by adding school workers, employers and co-workers to the list of people who can ask a judge to temporarily take away someone’s firearms if they pose a danger to themselves or others. Current law only allows law enforcement and immediate family members to do so.
“Last year’s senseless shooting at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks compelled me to renew efforts to expand California’s Gun Violence Restraining Order law. We have another incident, this time at a place of worship in Poway – when will it end? I’m glad to see my Assembly colleagues agree we have to do more to prevent tragedies,” said Ting, who has seen two previous versions of his bill vetoed by Governor Brown. “Our new governor has indicated he is open to more gun safety laws. I am hopeful that third time’s the charm.”
Ting believes the expansion is necessary because school campuses and workplaces have increasingly become sites for mass shootings. “We often spend more time with our classmates and co-workers than we do at home. I’d like the people we interact with most to have this effective tool available to them,” said Ting.
GVROs are sometimes referred to as “red flag laws” and have been enacted in fourteen states. According to the California Department of Justice, GVROs have been issued 614 times from 2016 to the end of 2018 with the bulk of the orders (424) obtained last year, as more individuals become aware of this effective public safety tool. When a judge grants a restraining order, a gun owner must surrender their firearms for 21 days. It can be extended to a full year after a hearing.
AB 61 now heads to the Senate for consideration. All bills must reach Governor Newsom’s desk by September 13.