News & Politics

New Gun Control Bill in CA Would Allow People to have Firearms Confiscated from Co-Workers

The Democrat-controlled legislature in California sent a flurry of gun control bills to Governor Jerry Brown on Thursday. The L.A. Times expects Brown to sign some of them before he jets off to Europe for a vacation.

But controversy over the gun control measures reached beyond Republicans who voted against them as an erosion of the 2nd Amendment. One measure that would allow Californians to petition courts to take guns away from co-workers also drew strong objections from the American Civil Liberties Union.

Another bill sent to the governor would require ammunition buyers to show identification and have their names checked against a list of felons and others prohibited from having firearms.

The “flurry” of bills sitting on the governor’s desk is just part of the plan to expand the gun control laws in California. Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom also has a gun control initiative that will appear on the November ballot.  Newsom said he was “pleased” by the legislature, calling the bills a “meaningful step in the right direction.”

“Now, with the Safety for All initiative, voters will finally have a chance to take matters into their own hands and keep the momentum going with bold reforms that build and expand well beyond today’s achievements,” he said.

The L.A. Times reports, “Two of the bills approved by the Legislature ban the sale of semiautomatic rifles with detachable ammunition magazines, including those with ‘bullet buttons’ that when pressed with a sharp object allow the quick removal and replacement of magazines. Those who already own such guns would have to register them with the state as assault weapons.”

“These types of firearms have no legitimate use for sport hunters or competitive shooters,” said hunting and sport shooting expert Assemblyman Reginald Jones-Sawyer (D-Los Angeles). “Members, too many of our sons and daughters, too many of our brothers and sisters, too many of our mothers and fathers have fallen victim to gun violence in California. We cannot afford to delay action any longer. The time to act is now.”

The NRA criticized the bills for the same reasons they criticize most gun control bills: they do not stop criminal behavior but instead restrict behavior of law-abiding citizens.

“It’s been a shameful process to watch,” said Amy Hunter, an NRA spokeswoman. “The bills hold a common theme: restrictions on the law-abiding citizens of California, while doing nothing to reduce criminal behavior.”

One bill in particular came under heavy scrutiny from the ACLU.

That opposition extended to a bill that would allow co-workers, employers, mental health professionals and employees of high schools and colleges to petition the courts for a “gun violence restraining” order against a person thought to be a danger to themselves or others.

Such restraining orders can be obtained by family members and law enforcement. Thirty have been issued so far this year in the state, officials said. They allow a court to order a person’s firearms confiscated for up to a year. The subject of the order can appeal the action.

“By temporarily taking guns from people deemed dangerous by a court, this bill provides a rational approach to stop gun violence and save lives,” said Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), author of the bill, who noted that mass shootings “most frequently occur at schools and the workplace.”

Good grief.

But the bill drew objections from the American Civil Liberties Union, which said in a letter to lawmakers that the bill “creates significant potential for civil rights violations.” Co-workers with an irrational fear may target a fellow employee without cause, and the bill lacks sufficient due process protections, the ACLU warned.

“An ex-parte order means the person subjected to the restraining order is not informed of the court proceeding and therefore has no opportunity to appear to contest the allegations,” the group said in a statement.

The other bills sitting on Brown’s desk include a bill to require owners of guns without serial numbers to register them with authorities. Another bill requires gun owners to report stolen guns within 5 days and ban those who falsely report a gun stolen from purchasing a gun for 10 years. One of the bills prevents a resident from purchasing more than one long gun a month, as is the law for pistols. Yet another bill would make the theft of a gun a felony.

“It my hope that he will do the right thing and he’ll sign a good number of those measures,” said Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles).

I would love to respond to this with “See ya in court!”  but with the fate of the SCOTUS in the hands of the next president, I don’t feel safe in saying that. My advice is to move out of California. I did.