California Gov. Jerry Brown has just signed into law a bill allowing family members to report relatives who they deem to be a threat, which then allows the state to step in and remove any firearms, USA Today reports.
The bill was proposed by Democrats based on the shooting at the University of California, Santa Barbara earlier this year by Elliot Rodger, whose parents had informed the police of the danger he posed.
Relatives of the victims and other supporters of the bill said the parents of 22-year-old Elliot Rodger were thwarted in their attempts to seek help for their troubled son before the rampage.
Law enforcement authorities in Connecticut, Indiana and Texas can seek a judge’s order allowing them to seize guns from people they deem to be a danger.
The new California law gives law enforcement the same option and extends it to family members.
Democratic state legislators Nancy Skinner and Das Williams introduced the legislation, amid protests from some lawmakers.
“Every one of us wants to prevent a mass shooting,” said Tim Donnelly, a California assemblyman and gun rights proponent. “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.”
The bill stipulates that anyone who reports the threat must sign an affidavit under oath. The consequence of lying is a possible misdemeanor. Within 14 days of the restraining order, a court hearing must be held to give the gun owner an opportunity to argue his case, to argue that there is no danger.
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