If you or a loved one is actively experiencing a crisis and at imminent risk of self-harm or harm to others, call 911.
PREVENT AND PREPARE
Gun violence – from mass shootings to firearm suicide – is a preventable public health crisis that plagues our country.
TEMPORARY GUN VIOLENCE RESTRAINING ORDERS
WHAT IS A GUN VIOLENCE RESTRAINING ORDER?
A temporary Gun Violence Restraining Order is an action made by a local court to stop someone in crisis from harming themself or others by temporarily preventing access to guns and ammunition while the order is in place.
WHO CAN FILE?
THOSE CLOSEST TO AN INDIVIDUAL MAY SEE THE WARNING SIGNS FIRST.
Filling out the court papers and preparing to file.
Filing the papers with the court.
Receiving the papers back from the court.
Having the temporary Gun Violence Restraining Order served to the person in crisis.
CALIFORNIA GUN VIOLENCE PREVENTION MEASURES
UNIVERSAL BACKGROUND CHECKS
California requires background checks on all gun purchases and transfers, including private transfers and sales at gun shows. It is one of 14 states and the District of Columbia that require universal background checks.
MENTAL HEALTH REPORTING
California law requires the immediate reporting of involuntary inpatient and outpatient treatment, as well as those under guardianship. Mental health treatment facilities and psychotherapists are also required to report under certain circumstances.
AGE RESTRICTIONS ON PURCHASES
In California, you must be at least 21 years of age to purchase firearms. There are narrow exceptions to this restriction (e.g., an 18-year-old with a valid hunting license is able to purchase certain long guns).
PRIVATE RIGHT OF ACTION
California signed the nation’s first legislation allowing individuals to sue those spreading illegal guns as California continues to ramp up its gun safety protections.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is a temporary Gun Violence Restraining Order?
A Gun Violence Restraining Order is a temporary, non punitive civil order issued by a court when someone is at risk of violence to themself (including firearm suicide) or others.
The at-risk individual receiving the order cannot purchase or possess guns or ammunition while the order is in place.
These temporary orders empower Californians to intervene and prevent someone in crisis from accessing firearms.
How does a temporary Gun Violence Restraining Order keep people safe?
A temporary Gun Violence Restraining Order gives an individual in crisis the opportunity to defuse a potentially dangerous situation and safely access help and care that could stop a harmful or deadly encounter from occurring.
Gun Violence Restraining Orders are considered a powerful tool to prevent firearm suicides, which on average, account for more than half of California’s gun deaths. During the same three-year time frame, about 40% of Gun Violence Restraining Orders were used in cases of an individual threatening suicide. No suicides occurred among the individuals who were under an order.
How is California increasing awareness of Gun Violence Restraining Orders?
Governor Gavin Newsom has launched an $11 million campaign to make California schools and communities safer through a community-based outreach campaign to promote temporary Gun Violence Restraining Orders.
Administered through the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES), this statewide effort focuses on educating families and loved ones most at risk for gun violence on accessible tools to prevent it.
Who can file for a temporary Gun Violence Restraining Order?
In 2022, Governor Newsom signed a bill to expand the list of who can file a Gun Violence Restraining Order, providing more Californians access to this life-saving tool. The new law goes into effect January 1, 2023.
Californians who can file a Gun Violence Restraining Order, also known as “eligible petitioners,” include:
A family member or loved one related by blood, marriage, or adoption.
Anyone who is a current household member/roommate or has been within the last six months.
A coworker who has regularly interacted with the person in crisis for at least one year, with approval from the employer.
A teacher or employee at a middle school, high school, college or university where the person in crisis has attended in the last six months, with approval from a school administrator or supervisor.
Law enforcement, including California peace officers.
An individual who has a child in common or who has a dating relationship with the person in crisis.
What are the steps for obtaining a Gun Violence Restraining Order?
Once you have obtained the required documents, the California Courts website provides a step-by-step guide for properly filing a Gun Violence Restraining Order.
Read our Application Explainer Resource explainer for a more detailed overview on the application process.
When was California’s Gun Violence Restraining Order law enacted?
California’s Gun Violence Restraining Order law was established after the tragic 2014 shooting in Isla Vista, when friends and family had feared the shooter was dangerous before the shooting occurred, but law enforcement was unable to remove guns from his possession.
AB 1014 (2014) was introduced and signed into law, making California one of the first states in the nation to adopt this critical tool.
Which states utilize laws similar to California’s Gun Violence Restraining Order law?
18 other states have adopted laws that allow certain individuals to file for a Gun Violence Restraining Order or an Extreme Risk Protection Order to temporarily remove guns and ammunition from a person who is a danger to themselves and others. The other states are:
How is California working to reduce gun violence?
California’s commonsense gun safety laws are the strongest in the nation.
The state has cut its gun death rate in half and Californians are 25 percent less likely to die in a mass shooting compared to people in other states.
California issued 3,007 temporary Gun Violence Restraining Orders from 2016 to 2020.
In 2021, California was ranked as the first state in the nation for gun safety by Giffords Law Center, and, in that same year, the state saw a 37% lower gun death rate than the national average.
What other laws and programs has California enacted to prevent gun violence?
Under Governor Newsom’s leadership, California has enacted the nation’s strongest gun safety laws in the nation. In addition to temporary Gun Violence Restraining Orders, these laws include:
Universal Background Checks: California requires background checks on all gun purchases and transfers, including private transfers and sales at gun shows. It is one of 14 states and the District of Columbia that require universal background checks.
Mental Health Reporting: California has some of the nation’s strongest laws preventing those with serious mental illness from acquiring firearms. California law requires the immediate reporting of involuntary inpatient and outpatient treatment, as well as those under guardianship. Mental health treatment facilities and psychotherapists are also required to report under certain circumstances.
Age Restrictions: In California, you must be at least 21 years of age to purchase firearms. There are narrow exceptions to this restriction (e.g., an 18-year-old with a valid hunting license is able to purchase certain long guns).
Waiting Period: California has a waiting period of 10 days for all gun purchases. The state is one of nine states and the District of Columbia that have waiting periods and California’s waiting period is among the strongest.
Assault Weapons: California law strictly prohibits assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. This includes possessing, distributing, selling, and manufacturing assault weapons.
Disclaimer: This website is for information only. It does not provide legal advice.