On Gun Violence Awareness Day, Attorney General Bonta Calls on Californians to Use Red Flag Laws

Friday, June 4, 2021
Contact: (916) 210-6000, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

Encourages the public to request a gun violence restraining order if they believe someone they know may use a gun to hurt themselves or others 

SACRAMENTO – In the wake of the recent mass shooting in San Jose and the rise in reports of gun violence throughout the country, California Attorney General Rob Bonta issued the following information about gun violence restraining orders (GVRO) – known as red flag laws.

“In California, we have strong gun laws developed with the public’s safety in mind,” said Attorney General Bonta. “Gun violence restraining orders are one critical tool that can help save lives, but they only work if we use them. So, if you believe a loved one, one of your students, or someone you work with poses a danger to themselves or others, please consider requesting a GVRO, and help us keep guns out of the wrong hands.”

In 2016, California became one of the first states to enact a red flag law. The law initially allowed law enforcement officers and family members of a person they believed was a danger to themselves or others to petition the court to prohibit that person from possessing firearms. In 2020, Assembly Bill 61 expanded authorization to petition the court for a GVRO to employers, coworkers, and school employees.  

GVROs can assist law enforcement in recovering firearms from individuals who have shown a probability to commit violence or prevent those individuals from obtaining firearms in the first place. 

In addition to GVROs, individuals who are in fear of or experiencing abuse by someone with which 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 24-48 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.

GVROs and DVROs prohibit individuals from the possession of a firearm or ammunition. Specifically, under the conditions of a GVRO or DVRO, a subject is:

  • Not allowed to have in their custody or control, own, or possess a firearm or ammunition;
  • Not allowed to purchase or receive a firearm or ammunition; and
  • Required to relinquish any firearms and/or ammunition to law enforcement, sell them, or store them with a licensed firearms dealer.

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)

For additional information on resources available to survivors of sexual violence please visit: https://oag.ca.gov/sexual-violence

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