Gun Violence Restraining Order
The other day I posted an idea about a "red-flag" system, similar to a restraining order, that could have prevented mass shootings where the perpetrator was known to authorities in advance:
It turns out my idea is not original, and I really think that this is something we should be promoting:
"The GVRO process is similar to the domestic violence restraining order process and provides the opportunity to defuse a potentially dangerous situation before permanent harm is done. Under a GVRO policy, family members and/or law enforcement officials can petition a judge to have firearms temporarily removed from an individual in crisis for a period of one year. This would allow those who are a threat to themselves and/or others the time they need to get help and heal. Equally important, the GVRO allows for due process, as individuals are able to petition to get their firearms back following a brief period of time."
The Aurora police had the Tarasoff letter from Holmes' psychiatrist; Pima college police knew Loughner to be a danger. Similar conditions existed for most of the major shootings.
There needs to be a way for the person to appear before a judge and argue their case if they disagree.
Anything seized needs to be properly cared for. Most small departments are good about that but I've seen larger agencies toss high value guns into garbage cans to carry them out and return them rusted and damaged.
Departments don't need to stonewall when an order is made to return them.
There needs to be protection from someone just going and doing them out of spite or because they don't like guns and just report anyone who they find out has them.
They have to petition for the GVRO. They have to have a hearing.
"At this hearing, the burden is on the person bringing the petition for the order to prove by clear and convincing evidence that the named person poses a substantial likelihood of causing harm to self or others by possessing firearms or ammunition."
To get the temporary GVRO, the one that sort of puts off due process a bit, it's a bit rougher: "A temporary emergency GVRO may be issued if a law enforcement officer asserts, and a judicial officer finds, there is reasonable cause to believe that a person poses an immediate and present danger of injury to self or others by having a firearm in his or her possession and less restrictive alternatives have been ineffective, inadequate, or inappropriate.."
Evidence for the ex parte GVRO is
Recent threat of violence or act of violence directed at another
Recent threat or act of violence directed toward himself or herself
Recent violation of a protective order of any kind
A conviction of a violent offense
A pattern of violent acts or threats within the past 12 months
A court may also consider any other evidence of an increased risk for violence, including, but not limited to, evidence of any of the following:
The unlawful and reckless use, display, or brandishing of a firearm
The history of use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against another person
Any prior arrest for a felony offense
Any history of a violation of any protective order
Documentary evidence, including, but not limited to, police reports and records of convictions, of either recent criminal offenses that involve controlled substances or alcohol, or ongoing abuse of controlled substances or alcohol
Evidence of recent acquisition of firearms, ammunition, or other deadly weapons
Now, let's look at how the same kinds of evidence needed in criminal trials work out. The police are typically considered to falsify evidence, spin it, leave out exculpating evidence, etc., etc. In many instances, the police file charges and it's expensive to rebut them. Often they win not because they're right but because the defendant has trouble defending himself--it's the big bully against the little man. Yeah, there are public defenders of varying usefulness.
Now, suddenly, they're necessarily stalwart and impartial defenders of the truth. Depends whose side we think they're on: If on ours, good; if against ours, bad. It's a question as to whether public defenders would apply here.
The quoted summaries were found on the web at http://smartgunlaws.org/californias-new-gun-violence-restraining-order-law/, for those who require purity of source to reduce the risk of reckless ad hominem fallacies.
My mom took my grandma's guns. That's a wild west family tradition. Fools and their guns are soon parted.
Eventually the police and paramedics had to remove my grandma from her home for her own safety and the safety of her neighbors.
My grandma fought them off for hours, and was still biting and kicking and cussing as they strapped her to the gurney and shoved her into the ambulance.
My mom and my sister later found another gun hidden in her house. My grandma was a hoarder, so finding anything wasn't easy.
I like to think my grandma decided not to use a gun in her final standoff, but it's more likely she simply hadn't remembered where she'd hid it.
That's one reason I think social pressure against gun love is so important. Properly stored guns are nearly indestructible. The second amendment is an ugly relic in our Constitution, just as slavery was, but it still stands. Guns are not going away anytime soon. But eventually we can make gun love socially unacceptable and the law will follow.
Drunk driving is no longer acceptable, smoking is no longer acceptable in many places. These are public health issues. Here in California people no longer smoke in restaurants, or at their workplaces, and I can easily rent a non-smoking motel room in a non-smoking motel.
Gun love is a similar public health problem. Separating a fool from their guns ought to be applauded in the same way we now applaud separating someone who is drunk from their car keys.
The legal system will follow.