California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill into law last year giving police the authority to confiscate firearms from lawful gun owners if friends or family members claim TheY pose a risk. Expressing concern, a state assemblywoman filed a bill to make sure that the law isn’t abused.
And she’s dead serious about it.
Republican Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez introduced Assembly Bill 225 last week, which would make filing a false “gun violence restraining order” affidavit a felony.
“I didn’t enact the law, but I’m awfully happy to be the one to undo it,” she posted on the Firearms Policy Coalition Facebook page. “Law abiding gun owners should NEVER have to fear their rights can be stripped away because and angry Ex or neighbor wants to get even.”
According to the state’s legislative information page:
Existing law makes it a misdemeanor to file a petition for an ex
parte gun violence restraining order or a gun violence restraining
order issued after notice and a hearing knowing the information in
the petition to be false or with the intent to harass.
This bill would instead provide that it is perjury, a felony
punishable by imprisonment in the county jail for 2, 3, or 4 years,
to file a petition for one of those gun violence restraining orders
knowing the information in the petition to be false. By increasing
the penalty for existing crimes, this bill would impose a
state-mandated local program.
The law that Melendez seeks to modify was intended to keep firearms out of the hands of those who pose a risk to others.
But it sets unreasonably low standards for infringing upon a gun owner’s Constitutional rights, and can even be a “disincentive for gun owners to seek professional or familial help by criminalizing their mental and substance-abuse problems,” according to Eric Wooten, president of the Liberal Gun Owners Association, writing in SF Gate.
“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 via email.
“The FPC strongly supports AB 225, which they see as a first step to correcting “numerous terminal deficiencies” in the current law.”
If California lawmakers made filing a false claim a felony, those seeking revenge against the gun owner, for example, might think twice.
“Assembly member Melendez deserves credit for introducing language to protect law-abiding gun owners from harassment and the loss of their fundamental Constitutional rights,” Combs wrote. “We are cautiously optimistic that other members will follow her lead and work to correct AB 1014’s other unconstitutional and dangerous flaws.”
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