Ask for a Gun Violence Restraining Order

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

You can also call a legal aid or nonprofit in your area.

Ask for a Restraining Order

To ask for a Gun Violence Restraining Order to have guns taken away from someone you worry should not have them, you can:

1. Call the police and let them know you are concerned about someone who is a threat to themselves or others. Based on your report, a police officer can immediately ask a judge for an emergency order to prevent the person from having guns, firearms and ammunition. See section below (Emergency Gun Violence Restraining Order) for more information.

OR

2. Go to court yourself to ask a judge for a Gun Violence Restraining Order.

Emergency Gun Violence Restraining Order

An emergency Gun Violence Restraining Order is requested by a police officer and can be made right away against anyone who is a threat to themselves or others. If approved by a judge, the emergency order will last up to 21 days. After the emergency order is made, there will be a court hearing within 21 days from the time the emergency order was issued by the judge.

At the hearing, a judge could make the emergency Gun Violence Restraining Order last up to one year. If you want the order to last longer than 21 days, you should follow-up with the law enforcement agency right after the emergency order is made.  You may be able to give them information that would help the judge make a decision. You may also ask for your own Gun Violence Restraining order against the person. Click here to find out how to ask the court for a Gun Violence Restraining Order.

Going to court to ask for a Gun Violence Restraining Order.

Before you start the court process, make sure you qualify for a Gun Violence Restraining Order.

1. 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.

2. The person you want to restrain owns or is trying to get guns, and poses a significant danger, now or in the future, of personal injury to themselves  or to another person.

3. You need a restraining order because another less restrictive way to protect against the danger will not work, or has been tried but did not work or is not appropriate.

Do you qualify?

Yes - You are ready to fill out the forms(or have a lawyer or clinic help you with the forms). Start with Step 1.

No - You may qualify for another type of retraining order. Learn about other types of restraining orders.

I don't know - Your courts self-help center may be able to help you for free. You can also hire a lawyer. Click for help finding a lawyer.

Filing a Request for a Gun Violence Restraining Order

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

STEP 2.  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. You will need to complete these forms:

  • Form GV-100 (Petition for Gun Violence Restraining Order;
  • Form CLETS-001 (Confidential CLETS Information);
  • Form GV-109 (Notice of Court Hearing) Complete #1, #2 only
  • Form GV-110 (Temporary Gun Violence Restraining Order). Complete #1, #2 and #3 only; and Form CM-010 (Civil Case cover Sheet) (Ask the court clerk if you need this for your court — you may not need it);

The most important  form is Form GV-100. The judge will decide whether to approve (grant) your request for restraining order based on the information you give in #6 in Form GV-100.

Make sure you give:

  • Detailed information on why you are asking for the restraining order.
  • Why you think the person is dangerous, like threats made, and violent incidents.
  • Include anything that will help the judge understand why the restraining order is necessary.
  • Include other less serious alternatives that have been tried and not worked. Read Form GV-100-INFO (Can a Gun Violence  Restraining Order Help Me?) for more information on what to include.

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 keep your home address confidential and use a mailing address instead. You can also use a program called "Safe at Home" that gives you a secure address 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.

3. Have your forms reviewed (optional)
If your court’s self-help center helps people with Gun Violence 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. Have at least 3 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 when you should make copies of the forms.

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. "File" means that the court clerk will make the order an official part of the court's record of your case.

You should file in the county where the person you want to restrain lives, or the place where any threats or injuries happened.  If you have questions on where you should file, talk to a lawyer or you local self-help center.

1. Take your forms to the court clerk to "file"

  • Where to go?
    • Once you know which county to file in, find out which clerk's office you need to file at (there may be multiple clerk's offices in your county). Every court is different but in most counties you file a Gun Violence Restraining Order in the Civil Division. Ask the self-help center or the court clerk if you are unsure.
  • What to take?

In some courts, the judge will speak to you to get more information about your request. 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 forms. Look over all the forms:

  • If the judge signed the Form GV-110 Temporary Gun Violence Restraining Order, that means the judge approved (granted) your request.
  • The day you will have to go to court to present your case will be listed on Form GV-109 (Notice of Court Hearing). If the judge granted you a temporary restraining order, the court hearing is also the date your temporary order expires. You must go to your hearing to get a longer order.
  • Even if the judge did not issue a temporary restraining order to remove guns from the person immediately, you can still go to the court hearing and ask for the order. The judge may approve your request at the court hearing, even if he or she did not grant a temporary restraining order before the hearing.

What if the judge did NOT give you any or all of the orders that you asked for?

  • You can go to your court hearing (see Form GV-109) and ask for the order to keep guns away from the person for up to a year. The judge may grant it at the court hearing, even if he or she did not grant a temporary order before the hearing;
  • Give more specific information and facts for the judge. The judge will give you the reasons why your request was denied on Form GV-109. If you have more information to support your case you can ask the judge to consider your request again. To do this, you must redo Forms  GV-100GV-109 and GV-110. Make sure to include all the information you want the judge to consider on GV-100. Write “Amended” at the top of these three forms. Turn these forms in to the court clerk so the judge can review your new request.
  • 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 Form CIV-110 (Request for Dismissal) 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 in the future.

STEP 3. Have Your Papers Served on the Restrained Person

"Serving" means that the other side in the case 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. There is no fee for the Sherifff or Marshal to serve.  Never ask a friend or family member to serve firearm restraining order papers, or try to do it yourself. Serving a Gun Violence Restraining Order can be very dangerous.  If a Temporary Restraining Order has been approved (granted) by a judge, a law enforcement officer will take all of the person’s guns, magazines and ammunition when serving the order.

Until the person has been properly "served," the judge cannot make a longer restraining order.  Remember, if you have a temporary restraining order now, it will expire on the day of your court hearing. You must go to the hearing for the judge to make the order last longer (up to one year).

  1. File your proof of service

The person that serves your restraining order must complete and sign Form GV-200 (Proof of Personal Service). After it is completed take Form GV-200 to the court clerk to file in your case.
 
If a law enforcement officer serves the form, ask whether the proof of service form has been filed (like Form GV-200). If it has NOT been filed, you need to get the original form signed by an officer and file it with the court clerk.

After a Proof of Service form has been filed

  • Make 2 copies of the Proof of Service form Form GV-200)
  • 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 give you more time to serve the other person and a new court date.  This is called a “continuance.”  If the hearing is continued and a Temporary Restraining Order was issued (the judge signed Form GV-110, the temporary restraining order will be extended until the new court date to give you more time to serve your papers.

You will need to fill out a Request to Continue Court Hearing for Gun Violence 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 the process over - start from step 1.)

To ask for a continuance before your original court start date (date listed on Form GV-109):

Fill out a Request to Continue Court Hearing  for Gun Violence Restraining Order (Form GV-115) AND items 1 and 2 of a Notice of New Hearing Date (Form GV-116).

  1. Turn in Forms GV-115 and GV-116 to the court clerk. The judge will review your forms and decide whether to approve your request. If the judge does not approve your request you will need to go to your court hearing. If you don't go to your court hearing, you will have to start the process over.
  2. If the judge approved your request for continuance, the judge will sign Form GV-116. Make sure Form GV-116 is filed with the court (a stamp in the top right corner means it has been filed). If it is not filed, take it to the court clerk to file.
  3. Attach Form GV-116 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.
  4. Make sure the person who served the restraining order fills out and signs a Proof of Personal Service (Form GV-200) and either files it or gives it to you to file.
  5. Give a "filed" copy of Form GV-116 to your local police and to everyone who has a copy of your temporary restraining order.
  6. Take a copy of all your papers to your hearing.

STEP 4. Get Ready and Go to Your Court Hearing

Get Ready and Go to Your Hearing

Your Day in Court

Getting Ready for Your Court Hearing:

  • Understand the law on Gun Violence Restraining Orders so you can give all the information the judge will need to decide your case. You can read about what the judge will consider in Penal Code section 1855(b).
  • Before your own court hearing, you can go to court and watch a court hearing to see how it works.
  • Take documents that help prove the reasons why you think a Gun Violence 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 Form GV-130 the Gun Violence Restraining Order After Hearing to your court hearing. Only fill out Items 1 and 2.  Court staff or the judge will fill out the rest of the form if the judge approves 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 language very well. Click to search for a licensed interpreter. Get tips to help you work with a court interpreter.

Do not miss your hearing!
If you miss it, any temporary restraining orders will end and you will have to start process over (from step 1).

Get to Court 30 minutes early:

  • Make sure you go to the right courthouse. Check your court papers to see where your court hearing is.
  • Find the courtroom. Ask security if you are not sure where to go.
  • 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.

Tips for when your case is called:

Court can be stressful for people. Here are some tips that may help you prepare for your court hearing

  • Write out what you want to say beforehand and use it to help you at your court hearing. If you get nervous at the hearing, just read from what your wrote down.
  • If you get nervous at the hearing, just read from what you wrote down.
  • Bring a support person with you to court. This person may not be able to sit with you when the time comes to talk to the judge but the person can sit with you while you wait for your case to be called.
  • The judge may ask you questions. Speak slowly and tell the truth.You can read from your notes.
  • You may ask the other person questions (cross-examine) if you think it will help your case. The other side may also ask you questions.
  • If you do not understand a question, say "I don't understand the question."
  • Speak only to the judge and not to the other person in the case unless it is your turn to ask the other person questions.
  • Do not interrupt the judge or anyone else while they are talking. If you have something to say, wait until the person is done speaking and then ask the judge for permission to speak.

STEP 5. After the Court Hearing

What you need to do next depends on what happened in court

If the judge approved your request, follow these steps:

1. Complete the forms: Fill out Form GV-130 (Gun Violence Restraining Order After Hearing).

If you have not done so already, complete Form CLETS-001 (Confidential CLETS Information).  It is confidential and the information is used by police to help enforce your order.

2.  Have the forms signed by judge and filed: Give Form  Form GV-130 and Form CLETS-001 to the court clerk (or the judge) and the judge will sign it.  Make sure the clerk files it after it is signed by the judge.

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

  •  If the restrained person was at the hearing, you are not required to serve the restrained person with a copy of Form GV-130. But it is a good idea to have it served by a law enforcement officer in case the restrained person still has guns or ammunition.
  • If the restrained person was not at the hearing, have a police officer serve Form GV-130. This must be done in person and NOT by mail. Ask the police to complete the Form GV-200 (Proof of Personal Service). Make sure this form gets filed with the court.  It is a good idea to keep a copy of it and your restraining order at all times.
  • The restrained person must turn in their guns, magazines, and ammunition into police, or have them stored with a licensed gun dealer. The restrained person also will not be able to legally purchase any guns, ammunition or magazines. If the restrained person has not turned in their guns or ammunition within 24 hours of being served with the order, you can call police and ask them to help.

4. Pay attention to when the order expires. If before it expires you still need a Gun Violence Restraining Order, you can ask to renew it for up to a year.  To ask for a renewal, complete and file Form GV-700 (Request to Renew Gun Violence Restraining Order).

The judge did NOT approve (denied) my request

If the judge did NOT approve your request you don’t have any other steps to take unless the judge ordered you to do something.

For additional resources to assist you or a family member in crisis:

  • Call 211 for local social service resources that can help you and your family
  • Contact local law enforcement if you continue to be afraid the person may harm themselves or others
  • Call National Suicide Prevention Line at 1-800-273-8255.
  • Call National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.
  • Dementia and Gun Safety

I have to go back to court because the judge gave me a new court date.

Make sure you go to your new court date if you still want a restraining order.

Have the judge sign Form GV-116 (Order for Continuance and Notice of New Hearing Date) and file the form with the clerk. This is your new order. If you got a new court date because you still need to serve the other person see Step 3.

Getting Help

Your city or county may have free legal help for Gun Violence Restraining Orders.  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 a Gun Violence Restraining Order.

Self-Help Centers can give you free legal information but not legal advice.

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