Ask for a Firearms Restraining Order

Please note that websites you visit may be viewed by someone else later. Always clear your browsing history after searching the web. Consider using a public or friend’s computer if you are concerned about someone viewing your browsing history.
Please note that websites you visit may be viewed by someone else later.
Always clear your browsing history after searching the web. Consider using
a public or friend’s computer if you are concerned about someone viewing
your browsing history.
footer

Are You in Danger Now? If you need help right now, call “911.”

You can also call:

 

Ask for a Restraining Order

To ask for a firearms restraining order there are several steps you have to take. But first make sure that:

1. A restraining order is right for you. Read Can a Firearms Restraining Order Help Me? (Form GV-100-INFO).

2. You qualify for a firearms restraining order. The person you want to restrain must be closely related to you, like:

  • Your spouse or domestic partner,

  • Your parents, children, siblings, grandparents, grandchildren and their spouses (including stepparents or stepgrandparents)

  • Your spouse’s parents, children, siblings, grandparents and grandchildren; or

  • Any person who regularly lives in your house now, or within the last 6 months.

3. The person you want to restrain owns or is trying to get firearms, and poses a significant danger, now or in the future, of personal injury to himself or herself or to another person.

4. Alternatives less restrictive than a restraining order have been tried and have not worked or are not appropriate.

5. You do not need other kinds of protection for yourself or your family members. If you do, you may want to ask for a different type of restraining order. Click to learn about other types of restraining orders.

Once you are sure you qualify for a firearms restraining order, you are ready to fill out the forms (or have a lawyer or clinic help you with the forms). If you are not sure you qualify, ask a lawyer. Click for help finding a lawyer. Your court’s self-help center may also be able to help you with the restraining order.

Filing a Request for a Restraining Order

STEP 1. Fill Out Your Court Forms and Prepare to File

STEP2.  File Your Court Forms With the Court

STEP 3. Have Your Papers Served on the Restrained Person

STEP 4. Get Ready and Go to your Court Hearing

STEP 5. After the Court Hearing


STEP 1. Fill Out Your Court Forms and Prepare to File

1. Fill out your restraining order forms
Fill out:

  • Petition for Firearms Restraining Order (Form GV-100);
  • Confidential CLETS Information (Form CLETS-001);
  • Items 1 and 2 on Notice of Court Hearing  (Form GV-109);
  • Items 1, 2 and 3 on Temporary Firearms Restraining Order (Form GV-110);
  • Civil Case cover Sheet (Form CM-010) (ask the court clerk if you need this for your court — you may not need it);
  • Attached Declaration (Form MC-031) if you need more space; and
  • Declaration (Form MC-030) for any statements of witnesses that will support your side of the story.

In your Petition, make sure you give the judge specific information why you are asking for the restraining order. Tell the judge everything you know about the guns the person to be restrained has. And explain why you think he or she is dangerous, like threats made, violent incidents he or she has been involved in. Say everything you think will help the judge understand why the firearms restraining order is necessary. Explain also about other less serious alternatives that have been tried and have not worked. Read Form GV-100-INFO for more information on what to include.

3. Have your forms reviewed
If your court’s self-help center helps people with firearms restraining orders, ask them to review your paperwork. They can make sure you filled it out properly before you move ahead with your case.

4. Make at least 5 copies of all your forms
One copy will be for you; another copy will be for the person you want to restrain. The original is for the court.

Some courts do not want you to make the copies until after Step 2 below, so make sure you ask your court clerk for the procedures in your court.

IMPORTANT: Your restraining order paperwork will go to the restrained person in your case, and he or she will get a chance to see everything you write. If you are staying somewhere you do not want the restrained person to know about and you want to keep the address confidential, do NOT write it on these papers. You can use a program called “Safe at Home” that gives you a secure address to use for your court papers (or for banking and other things) where you can still get your court papers without having to reveal your confidential address. Click to learn about Safe at Home.

STEP 2. File Your Court Forms With the Court

Once you have filled out all your forms, you have to file them with the court. You should file in the county where the person you want to restrain lives.  If you want to file in a different county, you should discuss with a lawyer or self-help program before filing.  Keep in mind that procedures for filing papers for restraining orders vary from court to court, so check with the court clerk for the procedure in your court.

In general, you have to follow these steps:

1. Take your forms to the court clerk
The clerk will let you know what to do next. In some courts, the clerk will give all your forms to the judge. In other courts, you may have to go to the courtroom directly. Either way, the judge will read your papers (maybe speak to you) and make a decision on whether or not to make the orders you are asking for. If you leave your forms with the clerk, ask the clerk when to return to see if the judge made the orders you asked for. The judge must decide by the next business day, but the exact time varies from court to court.

2. Find out if the judge issued the temporary restraining order
Return to the courthouse when the clerk tells you to pick up your paperwork. Look over all the paperwork the clerk returns to you to see:

  • If the judge signed the Temporary Firearms Restraining Order (Form GV-110).
  • When your court hearing is, on the Notice of Court Hearing (Form GV-109). The court hearing is also the date your temporary order runs out. You must go to your hearing to get a longer order.
  • Even if the judge did not issue a temporary restraining order, you can still go to the court hearing and ask for the order. The judge may grant it at the court hearing, even if he or she did not grant a temporary order before the hearing.

3. File your forms
The court clerk will file your forms, including the Temporary Firearms Restraining Order (Form GV-110), if it was granted. “File” means that the court clerk will make the order an official part of the court’s record of your case. The clerk will keep the original for the court and give you the 2 copies stamped “Filed.” If you need more copies, you can make them yourself.

If the judge did NOT give you any or all of the orders that you asked for

If the judge denied your request because, in his or her opinion, the facts you provided on your Petition for Firearms Restraining Orders (Form GV-100) did not justify a temporary restraining order (you can find out by looking on item 4(b) of your Form GV-109), you can try to provide more specific information and facts for the judge, and resubmit your temporary order. To do this, you will have to file an amended Form GV-100 with the additional information, as well as a new Form GV-109 and Form GV-110.

If your request was denied and you do not want to go forward, you can tell the court clerk that you want to cancel the court hearing. If you do that, you can also dismiss your case by filing a Request for Dismissal (Form CIV-110) or simply do nothing, which will keep the case open but inactive if no more papers are filed. If you want, you can refile your request at a later date.

STEP 3. Have Your Papers Served on the Restrained Person

"Serving" means that the other side must get copies of any paper you file with the court. Although the law does not require it, you should always ask your local law enforcement agency to serve your papers on the person you want to restrain.  Never ask a friend or family member to serve firearm restraining order papers, or try to do it yourself. And do not use a private process server. Serving a firearms restraining order can be very dangerous.  If a Temporary Restraining Order has been issued, a law enforcement officer will take all of the person’s firearms and ammunition when serving the order.

Until the person has been properly "served," the judge cannot make any permanent orders.  Remember, so far, you have a temporary restraining order, which runs out the day of your court hearing unless the judge extends it or gives you a “permanent” restraining order.

  1. File your proof of service
    Make sure that the  law enforcement officer serving the papers fills out a Proof of Personal Service (Form GV-200). Verify whether the officer will file the Proof of Service with the court or will give it to you so you can file it. This form tells the judge and police that the restrained person got a copy of the order and knows about it.
    • A law enforcement officer may use a different proof of service form. If so and the officer expects you to file it, make sure it lists the forms served, date papers were served, where they were served, and time of service.
    • Make 3 copies of the Proof of Service after the server gives it to you.
    • Then, file the original and copies with the court clerk before your hearing. The clerk will keep the original and give you back the copies stamped "Filed." Take a copy to your hearing.
    • Keep 1 copy with you (together with your restraining order) AT ALL times.

If the restrained person was NOT served

The restrained person must be served before the hearing. If the restrained person wasn't served, you can ask the judge to postpone the hearing until a later date.  This is called a “continuance.”  If the hearing is continued and a Temporary Restraining Order was issued, the order will be extended until the new court date to give you more time to serve your papers.

You will need a Request to Continue Court Hearing for Firearms Restraining Order (Form GV-115) to ask the judge for a new court date. Do this before or at your hearing. (If you wait until after the hearing, you have to start from the very beginning.)

To ask for an extension on the restraining order and new court hearing date:

  1. Fill out a Request to Continue Court Hearing  for Firearms Restraining Order (Form GV-115) AND items 1 and 2 of a Notice of New Hearing Date (Form GV-116).
  2. Have the judge review the forms and sign Form GV-116 (at the hearing) or give it to the clerk together with Form GV-115 (before the hearing) to give to the judge to sign.
  3. If not already filed, ask the clerk to file the signed Notice of New Hearing Date (Form GV-116). This form now has your new court date.
  4. Attach it to your other court papers and get the restrained person served following the same directions as with the temporary restraining order papers at the beginning of this Step 3.
  5. Make sure your server fills out a Proof of Personal Service (Form GV-200) and either files it or gives it to you to file.
  6. Give a "filed" copy of Form GV-116 to your local police and to everyone who has a copy of your temporary restraining order.
  7. Take a copy of all your papers to your hearing.

STEP 4. Get Ready and Go to Your Court Hearing

Get Ready for Your Hearing

This section will tell you how to get ready for your hearing.

Be prepared:

  • Understand the law on firearms restraining orders so you can given the judge the information she or he will need. You can read about what the judge will consider in Penal Code section 1855(b).
  • Take documents that help prove the reasons why you think a firearms restraining order is necessary. Take 2 copies of all documents and filed forms, including the Proof of Service. Some of the documents that can help your case may be:
    • Witnesses and written statements from witnesses,
    • Photos;
    • Medical or police reports;
    • Damaged property;
    • A threatening letter, email or telephone message.

  • Take the Firearms Restraining Order After Hearing (Form GV-130) to your court hearing. Fill out Items 1 and 2.  The court will fill out the rest of the form if it grants the order.
  • If you do not speak English well, ask the court for a free interpreter. If your court will not provide you one, take an interpreter to help you. Do not ask a child, or a witness to interpret for you. Make sure you get a qualified interpreter, who speaks both English and the other langauge very well. Get tips to help you work with a court interpreter.

Do not miss your hearing!
If you miss it, the temporary restraining orders will end and you will have to start from the beginning.

Get there 30 minutes early:

  • Find the courtroom.
  • When the courtroom opens, go in and tell the clerk or officer that you are present.
  • If you see the restrained person and are afraid, tell the officer.
  • Watch the other cases so you will know what to do.
  • When your name is called, go to the front of the courtroom.
  • Your hearing may last just a few minutes or up to an hour.

Practice what you want to say:

  • It is important to present your case clearly and precisely without rambling.  It is often a good idea to write out what you want to say beforehand and use it to help you in court.  But it is better to speak without reading.
  • If you get nervous at the hearing, just read from what you wrote down.

Your court hearing

During your hearing, the judge may ask questions

  • Tell the truth. Speak slowly. You can read from your notes.
  • The restrained person or his or her lawyer may also ask you questions.
  • Give complete answers.
  • If you do not understand, say "I don't understand the question."
  • If the restrained person lies in court, wait until he or she finishes talking. Then tell the judge the true facts.
  • Speak only to the judge unless it is your turn to ask questions.
  • When people are talking to the judge, wait for them to finish. Then you can ask them questions about what they said.

The judge’s decision

At the end of the hearing, the judge will say whether the order is granted or denied. The judge may:

  • Give you the order you asked for.
  • Not give you the order you asked for.
  • Postpone your case and give you a new court date. This means you have to come back another day. The judge can do this if:
    • The restrained person needs time to get a lawyer or prepare an answer.
    • The judge wants more information.
    • Your hearing is taking longer than planned.

Ask the judge to sign a Form GV-116 to make sure that the temporary restraining order (if any) is extended until the new hearing date.

See Going to Court to read more information about how to prepare for your court hearing.

STEP 5. After the Court Hearing

If the judge issues a restraining order at the hearing, the judge must sign a written order on Form GV-130.  In some courts, the clerk or other court staff will prepare this order and give it to the judge to sign.

If you have to fill out the order, follow these steps:

1. Fill out the Firearms Restraining Order After Hearing (Form GV-130), which will become your “permanent” restraining order.

  • Review it to make sure you understand it.

2.  Fill out a Confidential CLETS Information (Form CLETS-001) if you have not done this already.  This form does NOT get filed. It is confidential. It is used so that your restraining order can be entered into a statewide computer system that lets the police know about your order.

3. Give your Form GV-130 to the clerk (or the judge) and the judge will sign it.  Make sure the clerk files it. The clerk will give you up to 5 copies.

4. Have the restrained person served with a copy of Form GV-130.

  • If the restrained person was at the hearing, you do not have to legally serve him or her with a copy of Form GV-130. But it is a good idea to do it, so you can have him or her served with a copy of Form GV-130 by mail. Ask the server to complete the Proof of Service by Mail (Form GV-250) and give it back to you so you can file it. Keep a copy of it with your restraining order at all times.
  • If the restrained person was not at the hearing, he or she must be served with Form GV-130 in person, not by mail. Ask the server to complete the Proof of Personal Service (Form GV-200) and either file it or give it back to you so you can file it. Keep a copy of it with your restraining order at all times.

Remember, you CANNOT serve the orders orders and you should not ask a friend or family member to serve or use a private process server.

Getting Help

Your city or county may have legal aid agencies that help people ask for firearms restraining orders.  So, if you need a firearms restraining order, no matter why, first try to get help from your local legal aid agency. If they cannot help you, they may be able to send you to someone who can.

Click for help finding a legal aid agency in your area.

Your court’s self-help center may also be able to help you with the firearms restraining order, or refer you to someone who can.

You may also be able to get help from one of these links:

© 2017 Judicial Council of California