America's First Freedom - December 2014 - 33

C A L I F O R N I A
So how will these "family members"
and police officers do a better job than
trained psychiatrists at predicting future
violence? Since they can't read minds,
the answer is they won't.
And how are courts likely to respond?
Most California judges will probably
err on the side of over-issuing orders,
rather than on staunchly protecting
Second Amendment rights. Now they
will be able to use a lower "substantial
likelihood" standard of proof to deny
Californians their right to keep and
bear arms. So it likely won't take much
evidence for "family members" to get
the initial restraining order that lands a
person on the prohibited list.
Judges will fear the political and
public relations consequences if they let
a person keep his or her guns and he
or she later hurts someone. So it's likely
that the requests for restraining orders
will mostly be rubber-stamped by the
courts. And people facing a loss of their
rights will need expensive lawyers and
psychiatrists to even stand a chance at
fighting the gun prohibition when they
finally do get a chance for a hearing.
Also, the names of gun owners who
get a Gun Violence Restraining Order
issued against them will be entered
into the Armed and Prohibited Persons
System (apps). Using that database, the
California Department of Justice has
sent armed teams of police officers to
confiscate firearms. Yet the apps system
has proven to be wildly inaccurate-up
to 40 percent or more of the time!
Ironically, ab 1014 may actually
make it more likely that sick individuals
can commit heinous crimes. Under
existing California mental health laws,
if law enforcement or certain medical
professionals believe there is probable
cause that a person is a danger to
himself or others, he can be taken
in for psychiatric evaluation. If he is
"committed," he is prohibited from
possessing firearms or ammunition for
five years. During that time, he receives
treatment, medication and therapy while
under a doctor's supervision. Once
discharged, the individual is referred to
a psychiatrist for regular follow-up care.
Later, if cleared by the doctors, a person

can ask a court to remove the restriction
on firearm possession.
ab 1014, on the other hand, provides
no such assistance. The ab 1014 order
can be issued without even getting a
mental health evaluation. If someone
is really dangerous, the person should
be committed and treated. But people
merely subject to a firearm restraining

even though the guns were already
in police custody and locked away in
a station evidence room! The "Risk
Warrant" was issued seven days after
the woman was admitted, evaluated
and then released without the need for
further investigation or treatment.
Interestingly, ab 1014 does purport
to make it a crime to file a frivolous

USING THAT (APPS) DATABASE,
THE CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF
JUSTICE HAS SENT ARMED TEAMS
... TO CONFISCATE FIREARMS. YET
THE APPS SYSTEM HAS PROVEN TO
BE WILDLY INACCURATE-UP TO
40 PERCENT OR MORE OF THE TIME!
order will get no treatment at all.
Instead, they will stay home or, for
some, remain homeless. Those who
are truly dangerous will still be able to
commit violent crimes, even crimes
with guns acquired illegally.
Additionally, in California, the
relative ease of obtaining "stay away"
and family laws restraining orders has
led to them being widely used as tools
for retaliation during a break up, or for
leverage in a divorce or child custody
case. The problem is so prevalent that
the Family Law section of the California
State Bar recently took note that the
orders are increasingly being misused.
It is noteworthy here that abuses of
the gun-related restraining order process
are already playing out in other states.
Although ab 1014 is broader than other
state laws because it lets "immediate
family" seek the firearm possession
ban, several states have laws that allow
police to take firearms away from people
who pose a "threat." In Connecticut,
the "Risk Warrant" statute has been
broadly abused as a way to seize
firearms without proving a real threat
to justify the seizure. In one recent case,
Connecticut state troopers got a
warrant to seize a woman's firearms,

request for a firearm restraining order.
That's a provision not found in existing
restraining order laws. But few, if any,
prosecutors are likely to question police
or "immediate family" motivations. The
real question will be whether a civil claim
can be brought against individuals who
try to have someone's firearms taken
away when they aren't really dangerous.
Gun-ban lobbyists have a saying
when flaws in laws, like the many in
ab 1014, are pointed out: "Don't let
the perfect be the enemy of the good."
That's just another way of saying, "We
know it's junk, but it's close enough for
government work."
In truth, ab 1014 is neither perfect
nor good. It's a dangerous law that will
be used to further advance the gun-ban
agenda in California to prohibit as many
guns, from as many places-and now
from as many people-as possible.
c.d. Michel is a California attorney who
has long been recognized as one of the
leading authorities on firearm law at both
the state and federal level. He has played
a significant role in defending and helping
shape Second Amendment rights and
legislation for more than two decades.

America's

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December 2014

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of America's First Freedom - December 2014

America's First Freedom - December 2014 - 1
America's First Freedom - December 2014 - 2
America's First Freedom - December 2014 - 3
America's First Freedom - December 2014 - 4
America's First Freedom - December 2014 - 5
America's First Freedom - December 2014 - 6
America's First Freedom - December 2014 - 7
America's First Freedom - December 2014 - 8
America's First Freedom - December 2014 - 9
America's First Freedom - December 2014 - 10
America's First Freedom - December 2014 - 11
America's First Freedom - December 2014 - 12
America's First Freedom - December 2014 - 13
America's First Freedom - December 2014 - 14
America's First Freedom - December 2014 - 15
America's First Freedom - December 2014 - 16
America's First Freedom - December 2014 - 17
America's First Freedom - December 2014 - 18
America's First Freedom - December 2014 - 19
America's First Freedom - December 2014 - 20
America's First Freedom - December 2014 - 21
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America's First Freedom - December 2014 - 24
America's First Freedom - December 2014 - 25
America's First Freedom - December 2014 - 26
America's First Freedom - December 2014 - 27
America's First Freedom - December 2014 - 28
America's First Freedom - December 2014 - 29
America's First Freedom - December 2014 - 30
America's First Freedom - December 2014 - 31
America's First Freedom - December 2014 - 32
America's First Freedom - December 2014 - 33
America's First Freedom - December 2014 - 34
America's First Freedom - December 2014 - 35
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