Is California’s gun seizure law unconstitutional? Gun rights group like the NRA and the Gun Owners of California are up in arms over the newest of California’s gun control laws, but some believe the new law is necessary in order to prevent events like the 2014 Ista Villa shooting massacre by Elliot Rodger.
Under AB 1014, the new firearms restraining order would allow family members to contact police if they believe a gun owner is a danger to himself or others. Authorities are now allowed to request from a judge a temporary gun ownership restraining order that allows California cops to seize guns without notice or without charges being filed.
In a related report by the Inquisitr, California’s gun seizure law goes into effect on January 1, 2016. Los Angeles Police Department Assistant Chief Michael Moore also explained why they believe the new law is necessary.
“The law gives us a vehicle to cause the person to surrender their weapons, to have a time out, if you will. It allows further examination of the person’s mental state. It’s a short duration and it allows for due process. It’s an opportunity for mental health professionals to provide an analysis of a person’s mental state.”
Although the legislation is now only being implemented in 2016, the gun control law was actually signed by Governor Jerry Brown on September 30, 2014, in response to the shooting spree by Elliot Rodger. Weeks before the Santa Barbara shooting occurred, Rodger recorded multiple YouTube videos that described his rage against women.
“Tomorrow I will have my revenge against humanity, against all of you. Girls gave their affection and sex and love to other men but never to me. Girls, all I’ve ever wanted was to love you and to be loved by you. I’ve wanted sex. I’ve wanted love, affection, adoration. You think I’m unworthy of it. That’s a crime that can never be forgiven. If I can’t have you girls, I will destroy you. I’ll take great pleasure in slaughtering all of you. You will finally see that I am in truth the superior one, the true alpha male.”
The young man also released a manifesto that explained his plans for murder in detail, but when Elliot’s therapist and his mother called the police they were unable to do anything.
As it turns out, the young man purchased all of his guns legally and they were registered in his own name. After a police officer investigated his apartment and spoke to him, Rodger wrote about how he was afraid they would find his guns and writings.
“‘I tactfully told them that it was all a misunderstanding, and they finally left. If they had demanded to search my room…. That would have ended everything. For a few horrible seconds, I thought it was all over.”
In the aftermath of the shooting spree, some blamed guns. Glenn Beck even blamed World Of Warcraft. But Elliot’s father, Peter Rodger, was known to be “staunchly against guns” so he specifically blamed the NRA.
“Chris died because of craven, irresponsible politicians and the NRA. They talk about gun rights — what about Chris’ right to live? When will this insanity stop?” he said at the time.
At the time, federal gun control laws had already banned firearm ownership by anyone who “has been adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed to any mental institution.” California’s gun control laws were even stricter because they excluded individuals who had been involuntarily committed to a mental institution, or those who had committed violent crimes. But some felt a new law based upon Gun Violence Restraining Orders (GVRO) for the mentally ill was necessary.
This is exactly how the law is worded.
“A gun violence restraining order is an order, in writing, in the name of the people, signed by a magistrate, prohibiting a named person from having under his or her custody or control, owning, purchasing, possessing, or receiving any firearms for a period of up to one year. A firearm seizure warrant is an order, in writing, in the name of the people, signed by a magistrate, regarding a person who is subject to a gun violence restraining order and who is known to own or possess one or more firearms, which is directed to a peace officer, commanding him or her to seize any firearms in the possession of the named person and to bring the unloaded firearm before the magistrate.”
As might be expected, gun rights advocates disagreed, including Sam Paredes, executive director of Gun Owners of California.
“We don’t need another law to solve this problem,” he told the Associated Press. “We think this just misses the mark and may create a situation where law-abiding gun owners are put in jeopardy.”
Some have also called California’s gun seizure law unconstitutional in the past. According to the Los Angeles Times, Charles H. Cunningham, a director with the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, said that AB 1014 “is one of the most egregious violations of civil liberties ever introduced in the California Legislature.” According to American Thinker, Dr. Jason Kissner, associate professor of criminology at California State University, used even stronger language to describe the new California gun control law.
“[AB 1014 is] the most draconian and flagrantly unconstitutional bill in the state’s, and maybe even the nation’s, history,” Kissner said. “Victims of this proposed law might have no idea they have even been targeted until police show up at the door, conceivably in the middle of the night.”
Besides the legality issues, others question whether California’s gun seizure law would have prevented Elliot Rodgers from acting in the first place.
“Every one of us wants to prevent a mass shooting,” California assemblyman Tim Donnelly told the New York Times. “The question is: Would this bill stop that? I don’t believe you can ever stop that with laws. I don’t believe you can legislate evil out of the hearts of men.”
What do you think?
(Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)