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Family members often know when a loved one is at risk of harming themselves or others, but until now they had no legal means to protect themselves or their loved ones.

Stay Safe

The Gun Violence Restraining Order provides a way to prevent homicide, suicide, and mass shootings by removing firearms before a tragedy occurs.

Get Involved

Get involved in the movement to prohibit access to firearms in situations when a person is at risk of harm to self or others by having a firearm.

What is a GVRO?

The Gun Violence Restraining Order (GVRO), also known as the Firearms Restraining Order (FRO), creates a mechanism for family members and household members to work with law enforcement to temporarily remove guns and prevent the purchase of new guns by individuals who pose a potential risk to themselves or others. Modeled after the success of domestic violence restraining orders that are in place in all 50 states, the GVRO has the potential to stop a crisis situation from occurring.

Why do we need a GVRO?

Family members, household members, and law enforcement who are concerned that an individual poses a threat to themselves or others can now access a Gun Violence Restraining Order. A GVRO offers families and loved ones a judicial pathway for temporarily removing firearms and prohibiting future gun purchases for the duration of the order.

How Does It Work?

A qualifying petitioner (family member, household member, or law enforcement) presents a written application to a judge in civil court. It’s important to know that this petition DOES NOT involve criminal charges being filed against the subject of the petition (person being identified as dangerous).

STEP 1:

Based on the information in the written application, a judge considers and assesses whether the person (respondent), is at risk of harming himself or herself or someone else.

If the judge agrees that there is a potential risk for violence, an ex parte GVRO is issued and will be in for 21 days or less. If the subject of the petition does own or possess firearms, he or she must surrender their guns for the duration of the order. If the person does not have access to firearms, they would not get an exparte GVRO, due to burden of proof on the petitioner.

STEP 2:

Before the ex parte GVRO expires, a subsequent hearing will take place with the petitioner (family member, household member, or law enforcement). The subject of the petition (respondent) has the opportunity to attend the hearing but are not required to do so.

If after the hearing the court determines the respondent is dangerous, the order prohibiting the possession of firearms and ammunition will be extended for up to one year.

Application

How To Obtain a GVRO?

Step 1: Request an application

Request an application from your local California Civil/Family Clerk.

Step 2: Complete and submit an application

Complete and submit the application.

Step 3: Have the restrained party served

If judge issues an ex parte order, have the restrained party served with a copy of the order.

Step 4: Attend Hearing

Attend the required court hearing and if judge finds clear and convincing evidence in support of the petition a 1-year order is issued prohibiting the purchase and possession of firearms for the restrained party.

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Frequently Asked Questions

A common thread in many high profile shootings are the family members of the shooters who saw their loved ones engage in dangerous behaviors and grew concerned about their risk of harming themselves or others – even before any violence occurred. In fact, it is common for family members to be the first to know when loved ones are in crisis in many incidents of interpersonal violence and suicide that take place across this country every day. The Gun Violence Restraining Order (GVRO), also known as the Firearms Restraining Order (FRO), offers family members, household members, and law enforcement a tool for temporarily removing a firearm from these loved ones in crisis.

A GVRO is a civil court order, signed by a judge, that temporarily prohibits someone (the “respondent”) who is in crisis from possessing or purchasing any guns or ammunition. It is used to protect someone who is in crisis from hurting themselves or others.

By intervening to temporarily remove guns already possessed and prohibit new gun purchases, the GVRO creates safer circumstances for the individual to seek treatment (e.g. for substance abuse, mental disorders) or engage other resources to address the underlying causes of the dangerous behaviors. The GVRO is based on the long-standing infrastructure and procedure of Domestic Violence Restraining Orders (in place in all 50 states) and involves a court hearing and clearly defined due process protections. Individuals have been able to apply for GVROs in California since January 1, 2016.

A Firearms Restraining Order is the same as a Gun Violence Restraining Order. They are known by different names in different places, but they are the same. In California, both terms are used when referencing the tool, but the judicial system uses the term Firearms Restraining Order.

Many categories of people are prohibited from purchasing or possessing guns in California. Some of these categories include individuals convicted of domestic violence and people involuntarily hospitalized for mental illness. Individuals experiencing mental health crisis who do not fall into one of these categories, however, are not prohibited from purchasing or possessing guns, even if a family member suspects that they are a danger to themselves or others.

If you are concerned about a family member or partner’s potential to commit violence, then a GVRO offers a judicial pathway for temporarily removing firearms and prohibiting future gun purchases. A GVRO offers a limited term opportunity to access to help and care that could stop a violent situation from occurring.

The GVRO helps family members, household members, and law enforcement to protect a loved one who is in crisis by temporarily separating him or her from guns. It requires temporary removal of guns and ammunition from the subject of the petition and prohibits new purchases for the duration of the Order. This creates safer circumstances for the individual to seek treatment or other resources to address the underlying causes of their dangerous behaviors.

Family members, household members, and law enforcement (petitioner) may file written petitions in their local superior courts asking a judge to issue a GVRO. The petitioners must include facts about why they think the subject of the petition pose a credible threat of harming themselves or others in the near future. This does not involve a criminal complaint, though seeking a GVRO does not preclude the petitioner from seeking any other available legal remedy. Specifically, the court process includes:

Step 1: An initial hearing in which a judge considers the information presented by the petitioner and assesses whether the subject of the petition is at risk of harming himself or herself, or someone else. If issued, an ex parte GVRO will be in effect for up to 21 days. If the subject of the petition does not own or possess firearms, he or she is temporarily prohibited from purchasing or acquiring a firearm. If the subject of the petition does own or possess firearms, and a GVRO is granted, he or she must relinquish his or her firearms for the duration of the order and the subject of the petition is prohibited from purchasing or acquiring new firearms or ammunition.

Step 2: Within 21 days and before the ex parte GVRO expires, a subsequent hearing will take place in which both the petitioner and the subject of the petition have an opportunity to be heard and to address the charge of dangerousness. If after the hearing the court determines the subject of the petition is dangerous, the order prohibiting the purchase and possession of firearms will be extended for up to one year.

Firearms relinquished under the GVRO may be held by law enforcement, sold to a federally licensed firearm dealer, or held by a federally licensed firearm dealer. If at the expiration of the order the subject of the petition is not otherwise prohibited from purchasing a gun and a new GVRO has not been issued, all firearms will be returned.

Disclaimer

This website does not provide legal advice and information is intended for general informational purposes only. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney directly.