A proposed California gun law that aims to ease the process of confiscating guns passed through the state Senate on Tuesday and is headed to the Assembly.
The bill, authored by state Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, strengthens an existing gun law she also authored by allowing police to confiscate firearm components such as ammunition and magazines from dangerous individuals with credible evidence of a threat. While some people support this legislation, others are concerned with how the law could potentially be misused.
The bill eliminates filing fees for gun violence restraining orders, or GVROs, and it includes firearm components as things that can be confiscated in addition to guns themselves.
“Having access to a Gun Violence Restraining Order empowers a family member to act,” Skinner said in a press release. “GVROs can save lives.”
Under the new bill, police are required to verbally ask the GVRO recipient if they have any guns or accessories and to send a copy of the receipt for the taken guns to the Department of Justice. The recipient will then be added to a list of people barred from having firearms.
Skinner introduced the GVRO to the Legislature four years ago, after Elliot Rodger killed six people in Isla Vista. The law was enacted two years ago.
Sam Paredes, the executive director of the Gun Owners of California group, said he had no issue with the law but added that he can see how it could be abused. While he supported “due process” in requiring a hearing within 21 days of firearm confiscation, he said he is less pleased with expanding the scope of who can report gun owners as dangerous, stating that it could be used to harass gun owners.
“The law should include a penalty for those who maliciously report someone to get a restraining order,” Paredes said.
Both administrators and students in the Berkeley Unified School District have spoken out in support of increased gun control — on March 14, Berkeley High School, or BHS, students walked out of class in support of the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and of stricter gun laws.
BUSD board Vice President Judy Appel said she supports the new bill and she is hopeful it will soothe student fears of a school shooting. In the wake of the Parkland shooting, BHS administrators held two lockdown drills to prepare the school for possible school shootings on its campus.
During the aforementioned BHS walkout, BHS senior Ruby Spies gave a speech supporting the Parkland students and calling for an end to school shootings. Regarding the bill, Spies said it was “a step towards better gun control” but that she doesn’t “think it’s enough.”
“As long as school shootings continue to happen around the country, we’ll be pretty scared,” said Spies.