San Diego’s City Attorney Announces her100 Gun Violence Restraining Order?

San Diego's City Attorney Announces her100 Gun Violence Restraining Order?

SDCGO was a part of the story below so check out the video. In less than 2 years Mara Elliot (San Diego City Attorney) has aggressively issued 100 Gun Violence Restraining Orders (GVRO). These are also referred to as "red flag laws". In California the way it works is if someone has some reason to be concerned about a gun owner, they can get the guns taken away from the gun owner until the gun owner can prove they are not a danger to anyone. Right now it has to be a family member or a member of law enforcement who initiates a GVRO, but California is attempting to expand that to employers, coworkers, teachers, and other school employees. A bill passed last year in Sacramento that would have done just that, but Governor Brown vetoed is with praise from the ACLU.

To be clear, nobody who is reading this wants a dangerous criminal or someone with a serious mental health issue who is dangerous to have access to a firearm. SDCGO certainly does not. But is that what this is about?

If someone has not broken the law, why are we taking guns away from them? And if they have broken the law, then why can’t we take guns away from them?

Let’s get back to that question later. Mara Elliot (the San Diego City Attorney) has now issued 100 GVRO’s and she is making sure to get as much coverage of this as she can. SDCGO has met with Mara and communicated with her on the GVROs. Mara has now given many examples of GVROs she has processed. Before I met with her I did two things.

Firstly, I had a law enforcement professional evaluate each of her examples to see if they could cite a specific law that was broken and allow law enforcement to take guns away from the person who broke the law. In every single example Mara gave, there was at least one law broken that would allow a law enforcement officer to remove firearms from the accused. It wasn’t even a question.

Secondly, I spoke to multiple law enforcement veterans who each had years of patrol experience. These are officers who are on the street and doing the hard work of law enforcement in the community. I asked each of them if they could look back over their career and identify instances where they were unable to take a gun from someone who was a danger to their self or others. The answer from each was a clear, resounding “no”. They saw no need for GVROs at all.

The example Mara gave in her press release was someone who “threatened to kill his ex-girlfriend and her family”, “repeatedly showed up at the victim’s home in the early morning hours and rang her doorbell incessantly”, and “under the influence of methamphetamines”. This was yet another example of someone who law enforcement would not need a GVRO to confiscate his firearms.

If it is the same thing as what we have on the books already…what’s the problem?

When we met with Mara we asked her what written procedures she had in place guiding her and her staff’s execution of GVROs and protecting the public from abuse or mistakes? Her answer was she has none. The reporter from Channel 10, at my request, asked her the same question and Mara told him that all of them go through law enforcement. I asked the reporter how he knows that is true if it is not written anywhere? Government doesn’t just get to do things on a handshake and a wink. Policies, guidelines, rules, and regulations are written down. It is a really very basic concept that can be traced back to this thing called the Magna Carta. I was truly unimpressed by Mara’s trust-me answer.

So conceptually, yes, we all want to make sure dangerous people do not have access to firearms, but the idea that we can take rights away from people who have not committed a crime is especially dangerous if there is not safeguard or written procedure in place. We are being told it is to help law enforcement, but clearly, they have no need which raises the question…what is the reason this is being implemented and expanded so quickly?

You know what worries me most about all of this? Anyone not worried about this.

Below is an exchange between SDCGO and the San Diego City Attorney.  I am proud SDCGO is here to speak up. Otherwise, GVROs would be under no scrutiny in San Diego at all. Tell your friends.

Michael Schwartz

Executive Director

SDCGO PAC

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