A new gun control law in California could influence gun laws throughout the country. California Gov. Jerry Brown recently signed into law a bill that makes it easier for police officers, prosecutors and judges to seize a person’s weapons in certain circumstances. Specifically, the law grants authority to judges to determine that an individual who poses a threat of violence should not be allowed to possess any weapons, including handguns, machine guns and rifles, or the ammunition used in these weapons.
California lawmakers passed the legislation in response to a mass shooting that garnered headlines and got a great deal of media attention throughout the state. In May 2014, Elliot Rodger, a college dropout, went on a deadly shooting rampage in Isla Vista, CA, near the University of California, Santa Barbara campus. The 22-year-old Rodger ended up murdering six college students and injuring another 20 people. He later used a gun to kill himself.
According to police, Rodger was armed with three 9mm semi-automatic pistols and two knives – weapons that he obtained through legal means. Sadly, California law at the time did not provide a mechanism for preventing the mentally disturbed Rodger from getting the guns. Although CA state laws in 2014 barred domestic abusers from purchasing or possessing firearms, these laws did not apply more broadly to people like Rodger who simply exhibited dangerous behaviors.
In addition to requiring potentially dangerous individuals to surrender their firearms for a certain period of time, the newly implemented gun violence law will make it harder for a disturbed person to purchase firearms or ammunition. If a judge determines that a person poses a danger to family members or the community at large, the individual can be barred from legally acquiring any guns while the gun violence restraining order is in effect.
Although the law is only in effect in California, it could have a major impact on laws in other states, including New Jersey. If successful, the California gun control law could provide a model for stricter legislation in NJ, making the state’s already-tough gun crime laws even tougher. Currently, the New Jersey Graves Act requires judges to impose a minimum mandatory sentence in felony-level gun possession cases.
For further information about the new California gun law and how it might impact the rest of the country, view the WashingtonTimes.com article, “California Law Allowing Seizure of Guns without Notice Begins Jan. 1.”
If you or a loved one has been charged with illegal handgun possession, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose or any other gun crime in New Jersey, it is crucial that you consult with a qualified criminal defense attorney. The experienced criminal defense lawyers at Bramnick, Rodriguez, Grabas, Arnold & Mangan, LLC can help you fight your charges and avoid the most severe penalties. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation about your case.