California gun leaders said the state’s Democrat-led legislature were misguided when they passed a gun control law rendering any person vulnerable to having their firearms unlawfully seized.
“We are going to drop the nuclear bomb and create a system as a tool for law enforcement when in fact it will provide the opportunity to abuse gun owners,” said Sam Paredes, president of Gun Owners of California a non-profit lobbying organization formed to protect and preserve Second Amendment rights in the Golden State.
The Gun Violence Restraining Order is the first of-its-kind in the U.S., said Doug Giles, author and founder of ClashDaily.com. “California residents can now petition a judge to temporarily remove a relative’s firearms if they fear their family member will commit gun violence.”
A successful petition would allow a judge to remove a family member’s guns for at least 21-days with the option to extend that period to a year, he said. “The measure will be an extension of existing legislation that temporarily prohibits people with domestic violence restraining orders from owning firearms.”
He said the newly enacted law infringes on the people’s Second Amendment rights which should never be predicated on whether a relative can persuade a judge, who might be an activist one, that someone else is “crazy”. “You would think people would desire liberty,” said Giles. “The next thing you know you are guilty until proven innocent, that I believe, used to be innocent before proven guilty.”
The measure was introduced by a left-wing, anti-gun state Rep. Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) and co-sponsored by Democrat state Rep. Das Williams, who is the assemblyman from the Santa Barbara area, said Paredes. The law was in response to the tragedy that happened in Santa Barbara in May, he said.
In a press release, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office identified 22-year old Elliot Rodger as the deceased suspect in the mass murder that left six people dead and 13 wounded in the seaside town of Isla Vista where Rodger was living.
Skinner, who is a former one-term member of the Committee on Local Government, and two-term member of the Committee on Public Safety, is regarded as one of the most anti-law enforcement and crime prevention votes in the state assembly, said Paredes. She is also a key leader in promoting gun-control laws, he said. “Her mindset was one of we’ve got to do something – so let’s do this.”
Gun Owners of California have said all along that people who are a danger to themselves and others have a mental condition that needs attention, he said. “Anybody who is making comments that they are preparing to go out and kill someone, and then goes and commits an atrocity has a mental problem.” But that problem is not the gun owner’s fault, he said.
“Nothing is going to prevent the criminally intent with a mental condition from using knives or cars to kill,” he said. “Not by creating a system that can now be used to abuse gun owners.” For example, he said “family member” is very loosely defined. A family member includes anyone a person has cohabitated with – in the past six months, he said. “A room-mate, boyfriend, girlfriend; all of these people can request a TRO.”
Giles, who is the author of Rise, Kill and Eat: A Theology of Hunting from Genesis to Revelation, said the law is extremely ripe for abuse. “Your moody, manic, anti-Second Amendment, Castro-loving, eco-terrorist, tree-humping, Prius-driving twisted sister can call you ‘crazy’, report you to the cops and B-o-o-m Deputy Wedge Figgus can confiscate your Remington 870 until a court decides you’re not demented.”
Every court in the state of California is required to have a judge available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to have the ability to timely respond to these temporary restraining orders, said Parades. “The judge has 24 hours to decide whether they are going to issue the TRO.” Once a TRO is issued, it is reported to the Department of Justice, and the DOJ places them on the Armed Prohibited Person’s List, he said. “It is illegal for them to purchase firearms, or if they have any firearms in their possession, they have to get rid of it.”
The prohibition is conveyed to local law enforcement, who are charged with serving the TRO, he said. “Then the subject can have their home searched and have their firearms taken away, until the TRO is expired.” Gun Owners of California maintain this is a violation of the due process clause of the 14th Amendment. There are ways to address violent crimes committed by mentally ill persons that do not violate constitutional rights, said Parades.
“In California, we have laws under Section 51.50 that if anybody believes their child, employee, or student is a potential danger, they have to report that person to a mental health official or law enforcement,” he said. In the Santa Barbara case, Rodger’s parents reported their son to the police, yet he said they were unaware their son possessed a firearm, nor did they report that to police.
“The police interviewed Rodger and they found him, based on their interaction with him, to be shy and a little depressed but they did not deem him to be a danger to himself or others,” he said. “If Rodger was sharp enough to convince a law enforcement officer that he was not a danger, what makes anyone think that he would not be able to convince a judge in a hearing that he is not a danger?”
There are laws on the books that have been tested, he said. “We are very sure of no stories, that I am aware of, of abuse of that law.” While Rodger presented himself as an intelligent man, Parades said his problems were deep-rooted, and probably stemming from issues at home. “Rodger’s father is an assistant producer/director of pornographic films,” said Paredes. “What kind of example is that for your son who was complaining that no girls liked him?”
The temporary restraining order law does not address the issue of mental illness and it does not assist law enforcement in enforcing the law, he said. “Rodger took a machete and killed his roommates; he got in a vehicle and drove down a busy street with students and killed a couple of more people,” he said. “Then he pulled out a gun and shot several people and then shot himself.”
He said legislators argue that this law is another tool for law enforcement to be able to affect these people right away. “GOC argues that this does absolutely nothing because in the time that a person applies for the TRO to the time a police officer goes out and serves the TRO that could be a time-frame of a week or more.”
Someone who is truly about ready to commit an atrocity will not wait for the process to be complete, said Paredes, who has been involved with GOC for over 30 years. “There is a huge window to be able to commit the crime, and we have done nothing.” The criminal minded, mentally insane person is not prevented from buying guns by illegal means, just like any other criminal, he said.
The law lacks common sense and is so egregious to Californians; Giles said gun owners should consider leaving the state. “If our freedoms are mitigated from a self defense stand point from the People’s Republic of California, we can move out and go to a gun friendly state like Texas or Florida.”
The California State Legislature currently has a Democratic supermajority with the Senate consisting of 28 Democrats and 11 Republicans and the Assembly consisting of 55 Democrats and 25 Republicans. “What is needed is a massive change on the political end,” he said. “It’s beyond me how people will be encroached upon and have their rights infringed upon little by little.”
If the legislature really wants to do something to prevent gun crime, then they should insist that illegal immigration laws be enforced, he said. “The vast amounts of firearm crimes are committed by illegal aliens in Los Angeles, alone.”
Giles said: “This is the agenda for the progressives: They want to punish gun owners, not the people who commit murders, rapes and other violent acts.”