Bill would allow families to confiscate guns

Greg Nash

California lawmakers introduced a bill Thursday that would allow family members to take guns away from people who “pose a threat.”

Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.) introduced the Pause for Safety Act in response to the May 23 mass shooting and stabbing spree in Isla Vista, Calif., by Elliot Rodger, a 22-year-old former Santa Barbara City College student. Seven people died in the attack, including Rodger, who killed himself.

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“We must do everything in our power to keep firearms out of the hands of those who pose a serious risk of harm to themselves or to others,” Feinstein said. “The bill would allow those who know the most about the condition of someone who poses a risk of committing violence to take steps to remove firearms from that individual’s possession.”

S. 2445 would establish a federal grant program for states to set up a system where family members who are concerned about the mental stability of a person could petition the court for a gun-violence prevention warrant. The warrant could prevent someone from buying a gun and would allow the police to confiscate guns already owned by the person if the court deems the person as a threat.

Before the shooting, Rodger’s mother had called police and asked them to check on her son. She called after seeing a video Rodger had posted online, where he talked about women hating him.

Authorities determined that Rodger did not meet the criteria for an involuntary hold, despite having a history of mental illness. He later killed his roommates and went on a shooting spree in the college town.

“It is haunting to me that the family of the gunman was desperate to prevent an act of violence and alerted police, but they were still unable to stop this tragedy,” Boxer said. “When the people who know someone best fear there is a threat of violence, they should be able to go to court — with due process for everyone involved — to help prevent a tragedy.”