Gun Violence Restraining Orders

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What is a Firearms Restraining Order?

A firearms restraining order is a court order that prohibits someone from having a gun or ammunition.

It can order someone to:

  • Not have a gun or ammunition;
  • Not buy a gun or ammunition; and
  • Turn in any guns and ammunition to the police, sell them to or store them with a licensed gun dealer.

You can ask for a firearms restraining order against a close family member if you are afraid they may hurt themselves, or another person, with a gun.

If you are in this situation, it is best to ask the police or other law enforcement to ask for the firearms restraining order. The police can seek a Firearms Emergency Protective Order if someone poses an immediate and present danger of causing personal injury to himself/herself, or to another person.  The officer will take the person’s firearms and ammunition while giving them a copy of the order.  You should only ask for an order yourself if the police (or other law enforcement agency) will not do it and you are very concerned. Read the rest of this section so you understand more about firearms restraining orders.

Close family members are:

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

If you are not closely related to the person you want to restrain but are still concerned about what they may do with their gun, tell the police. The police may be willing to do ask for the restraining order, even if you or a close family member cannot or will not.

Read about the law in Penal Code sections 18100 to 18205.

What a Firearms Restraining Order CAN Do:

A firearms restraining order is a court order. It can order the restrained person to:

  • Not have a gun or ammunition;
  • Not buy a gun or ammunition; and
  • Turn in any guns and ammunition to the police or sell them to or store them with a licensed gun dealer.

Once the court issues (makes) a restraining order, it goes into a statewide computer system. This means that law enforcement officers across California can see there is a restraining order in place.

What a Firearms Restraining Order CANNOT Do:

A firearms restraining order will NOT order the restrained person to:

  • Stay away from you or your family members;
  • Not contact or go near you, your children, other relatives, or others who live with you; and
  • Move out of your house.

If you need protection for yourself or a family member, there are other kinds of orders you may be able to ask for:

If you are not sure what kind of restraining order you should get, talk to a lawyer. Click for help finding a lawyer. Also, your court’s family law facilitator or self-help center may be able to help you. And your local legal services offices may also be able to help you or refer you to someone who can.

How long does the firearms restraining order last?

If the court makes a temporary restraining order, it will last until your court hearing (about 21 days). At the court hearing, if they judge grants your request, you will get a firearms restraining order for one year. You can ask to renew it for additional one-year periods.

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