Attorney General Bonta Urges Law Enforcement Statewide to Utilize Red Flag Laws, Apply for Gun Violence Prevention Grants

Thursday, August 25, 2022
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

Highlights success of gun violence prevention strategies in San Diego  

SAN DIEGO — California Attorney General Rob Bonta today visited San Diego to promote strategies for law enforcement agencies and local governments to help prevent gun violence and urged for further action and collaboration statewide. Attorney General Bonta highlighted the successful work of the City of San Diego to educate both community and law enforcement partners about the use of Gun Violence Restraining Orders and Domestic Violence Restraining Orders, tools which help ensure that people who are a danger to themselves or others do not have access to a firearm. In 2021, over 31% or 435 of the 1,384 GVROs issued statewide were issued in San Diego County. Additionally, Attorney General Bonta urged California sheriff’s departments to take advantage of the Gun Violence Reduction Program, a grant opportunity which funds activities by sheriff’s departments to seize weapons and ammunition from individuals listed as prohibited in the Armed and Prohibited Persons System (APPS). The second round of funding for sheriff’s departments is now available; grant applications are due to the Department of Justice by September 2, 2022

“Whether by helping assist our community members to access Gun Violence Restraining Orders or seizing guns from those deemed too dangerous to possess them, our local law enforcement plays a key role in advancing statewide strategies to reduce gun violence,” said Attorney General Bonta. “In California, we’ve implemented strategies that work to prevent gun-related deaths. California’s rate of gun deaths remains one of the lowest in the nation and in communities such as San Diego, which properly utilize red flag laws, the data is even more promising. We know we have strategies that work to save lives, because we are seeing them at work right here in San Diego — but gun violence is a challenge that none of us can address alone. The California Department of Justice will continue collaborating with our law enforcement partners throughout the state to prevent tragic deaths due to gun violence.”

“Our office is committed to helping law enforcement agencies save lives through the use of Gun Violence Restraining Orders. We thank Attorney General Bonta and the state of California for supporting our efforts, most recently with a $1 million grant,” said San Diego City Attorney Mara Elliott. “The Department of Justice has also created its California Law Corps program and asked our Gun Violence Response Unit to train eight California cities on how to create effective GVRO programs. The more such units we have in California the better we can respond before another tragedy occurs.” 

Gun Violence Restraining Orders (GVROs) and Domestic Violence Restraining Orders (DVROs)

Californians can help prevent gun violence and protect those who are no longer able to responsibly possess firearms. Attorney General Bonta encourages law enforcement partners to assist their communities in accessing these resources. Law enforcement agencies and local governments can provide training and assistance to community members to help them better understand red flag laws, a model demonstrated with positive results by partners in San Diego.

In December 2017, in collaboration with the San Diego Police Department and the Superior Court, City Attorney Mara W. Elliott established the state’s first comprehensive GVRO program. Since the inception of the groundbreaking program, more than 1,500 firearms have been confiscated through GVROs. Removing these firearms is believed to have prevented multiple violent incidents, including mass shootings. For example, in June, City Attorney Elliott wrote in the San Diego Community Newspaper about a GVRO used to remove firearms from a man who posted a photo of himself on social media holding an AR-15 rifle with the message, “RIP” to his former high school and stating that he hoped to die.

Anyone who believes a person to be a danger to themselves or others should contact local law enforcement. Family members, employers, coworkers, and school employees can also petition the court directly for a Gun Violence Restraining Order (GVRO) to prohibit a person from possessing firearms whom they believe poses a serious threat. 

Individuals who are in fear of or experiencing abuse by someone with whom they are in a close relationship – such as a current or former spouse, partner, or parent – can request a Domestic Violence Restraining Order (DVRO).

Petitioners can request a temporary GVRO or DVRO from the civil court in their county of residence. A judge will consider the facts presented in the petitioner’s formal, written application and/or at a hearing. Using the information presented, the judge will assess whether the subject is presently at risk of harming anyone. Under California law, orders are granted or denied the same day the petition is submitted to the court. If granted, the subject must relinquish their firearms within 24 to 48 hours, and for the duration of the order. Orders can be extended by requesting an Order after Hearing. These orders can be issued from one to five years for GVROs, and can be non-expiring for a DVRO. 

The application, as well as more information on GVROs and DVROs, can be found here.

Victims of domestic violence who are in immediate danger should call 911. For additional information and assistance call:

  • The 24-hour National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (1-800-799-7233)
  • The Victims of Crime Resource Center: 1-800-VICTIMS (1-800-842-8467)

California Sheriff’s Departments are Invited to Apply for Gun Violence Prevention Grants

The California Department of Justice's (DOJ) Gun Violence Reduction Program (GVRP) grants provide funding to county sheriff’s departments to support their activities related to seizing weapons and ammunition from individuals who had previously legally purchased a firearm and have since become prohibited in APPS. Armed and prohibited individuals are a subset of APPS representing less than one percent of the APPS database. As of January 1, 2022, there were nearly 3.2 million known firearm owners in APPS, of which 24,509 are prohibited from owning firearms. DOJ encourages applicants to consider innovative strategies to reduce the amount of armed and prohibited subjects in their jurisdictions.

A total of $10 million in GVRP funding was provided by the California Budget Act of 2021, of which $5 million was awarded in 2022, with the remaining $5 million currently available for award by January 1, 2023. DOJ will award grants in amounts between $250,000 and $1 million per applicant, per year.

The Attorney General encourages all interested county sheriff's departments to submit their proposals by September 2, 2022. The Request for Proposal package, which contains all of the information and forms agencies need to prepare and submit, is available at   

California’s Life-Saving Gun Violence Prevention Strategies

California continues its efforts to advance laws and policies that save lives and prevent gun deaths. In 2021, California saw a 37% lower gun death rate than the national average. According to the CDC, California’s gun death rate was the 44th lowest in the nation, with 8.5 gun deaths per 100,000 people – compared to 13.7 deaths per 100,000 nationally, 28.6 in Mississippi, 20.7 in Oklahoma, and 14.2 in Texas. California’s gun death rate for children is also lower than other states, and is 58% lower than the national average.

Attorney General Bonta stands with partners to continue preventing gun violence strategically and aggressively by:

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