SACRAMENTO (CBS SF) — Filing a false report for a restraining order to remove guns from someone thought to be at risk would become a felony under a proposed bill by a Southern California assemblywoman.
In September, California enacted a first-of-its-kind law that allows family members to seek a temporary “emergency gun violence restraining order” to take away guns from a relative who appears to pose a threat.
Earlier this month, Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez (R-Lake Elsinore) introduced AB 225 making it a felony to knowingly file a false gun violence restraining order, with a punishment of up to four years in prison for perjury.
“Law abiding gun owners should NEVER have to fear their rights can be stripped away because an angry Ex or neighbor wants to get even,” Melendez posted on the Firearms Policy Coalition Facebook page.
The newly-enacted AB 1014, by former Berkeley Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, allows law enforcement and family members to petition a judge to seize guns from a person deemed to be a threat, such as in domestic violence or suicidal situation. Law enforcement in Connecticut, Indiana and Texas can also seek such a restraining order.
The law was in response to a deadly shooting rampage in Isla Vista, near the University of California, Santa Barbara last May. Supporters maintain the law could have prevented the attack and will prevent other deadly shootings by people who are unstable.
Currently under the new law, filing a false report to have guns taken away would be a misdemeanor.
The National Rifle Association and other gun rights groups have criticized the law over what they say are low evidentiary standards and a disincentive for troubled gun owners to seek mental health treatment.
“The AB 1014 Gun Violence Restraining Order laws are nothing but a minefield for innocent Californians and actually incentivize abuse by anti-gun radicals,” Brandon Combs, president of the Firearms Policy Coalition told Guns.com.
Melendez’s bill is scheduled to be heard in committee early next month.