Request a petition from your local Superior Court or download online.
What is a GVRO?
The Gun Violence Restraining Order (GVRO) is a law that allows family members, household members, some employers, colleagues, teachers, and law enforcement to work with courts to temporarily remove guns and prevent the purchase of new guns by individuals who pose a significant risk of harm to themselves or others. The media and some organizations sometimes refer to the GVRO and similar laws as so-called “Red Flag Laws”.
If you are in immediate danger, please contact local law enforcement or dial 911.
Why Do We Need a GVRO?
Easy access to guns is a significant risk factor for injury and death. Among the most high-profile incidents was the 2014 shooting in Isla Vista, CA, which helped to prompt the passage of the GVRO law: Friends and family had feared the shooter was dangerous before the shooting occurred, but law enforcement was unable to remove guns from his possession. A GVRO offers families and loved ones, household members, and law enforcement a judicial pathway for temporarily removing firearms and prohibiting future gun purchases for the duration of the order.
What Can I Do?
If you know someone, or come into contact with people who may be at risk of hurting themselves or others with a gun, you should know what options you have to speak for safety with a GVRO.
Please select a category that best fits your personal or professional situation:
How to Obtain a GVRO
To obtain a GVRO, you need to file a petition with a court. These are the steps:
Complete and submit the petition and other necessary paperwork.
Note: If you need assistance, all Superior Courts in California have self-help centers that can provide you with assistance.
If the judge issues a GVRO, ask a law enforcement officer to serve the order on the subject of the petition.
Attend the hearing scheduled by the court. The hearing will be scheduled 21 days from the date the judge issues or denies the order.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does a GVRO help people in crisis stay safe?
The GVRO helps family members, household members, some employers, colleagues, teachers, and law enforcement protect a loved one who is dangerous to themselves or others by temporarily prohibiting them from accessing guns. It requires temporary removal of guns, ammunition, and magazines from the subject of the order and prohibits new purchases for the duration of the order. This creates safer circumstances for the individual to seek treatment, stabilize their behavior, or access resources to address the underlying causes of their dangerous behaviors.
What can and cannot a GVRO do?
A GVRO is a court order that:
- Orders the subject of the petition to surrender all firearms and ammunition they have in their possession; and
- Prohibits the subject of the petition from purchasing or obtaining any guns and/or ammunition for the duration of the order.
A GVRO only places restrictions on possession of firearms and ammunition for a defined period of time. It does NOT:
- Require the surrender of other weapons, such as knives; or
- Protect the petitioner in other ways, such as barring contact or keeping the person from coming near the petitioner. For personal protection from a family member (or household member), you should proceed under the Domestic Violence Protection Act. See Form DV-500-INFO (Can a Domestic Violence Restraining Order Help Me?) for more information.
Who can petition for a Gun Violence Restraining Order?
You can ask (petition) the court for a Gun Violence Restraining Order if you are an “immediate” family member or household member of the subject of the petition, or if you are a certain teacher, school employee, employer, co-worker, or employee of the subject of the petition. Immediate family members and household members include the subject’s:
- Spouse (by marriage or not) or domestic partner.
- Parents, children, siblings, grandparents, and grandchildren and their spouses, including any stepparent or step-grandparent.
- Spouse’s parents, children (subject’s stepchildren), siblings, grandparents, and grandchildren.
- Any other person who lives in or regularly resides in the household, or who, within the last six months, lived in or regularly resided in the household.
In addition, law enforcement officers may petition for GVROs. If you do not fall into one of the above groups, you can inform law enforcement if a person is at risk of harming themselves or others with a gun, even if the person does not currently have access to guns, and an officer may investigate and file a petition if they find that grounds exist.
Will there be a filing fee or court fee?
No. As of 2019, all court and filing fees have been eliminated for petitioning for a gun violence restraining order. This includes any fees associated with having law enforcement serve a GVRO. (See SB-1200 for more information.)