Guns and Families in California

A new California law (Assembly Bill No. 1014) allows judges to order confiscation of firearms for 21 days without prior notice based on testimony of an “immediate family member”* that they believe the person who possesses the firearm might pose a danger presently or in the future.

Regardless of how you feel about firearms and who should or should not possess them, how will exercising this power, which usually resides with various kinds of experts, affect family functioning and emotional process?

I can easily envision the reporting family member abusing this power out of anger or hostility. Can a judge identify a fabricated concern?

What will happen when police return the weapons to the owner? If the family member who invokes this law also possesses firearms, might the target of the report retaliate by filing a similar report? Will it become a race to see who gets their first? In other words could the risk of escalating potentially dangerous family conflict outweigh any reduced risk from temporary removal of firearms?

*"For purposes of this section, "immediate family" means any spouse, whether by marriage or not, parent, child, any person related by consanguinity or affinity within the second degree, or any other person who regularly resides in the household, or who, within the prior six months, regularly resided in the household."


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