Emergency Gun Violence Restraining Order (21 Days)
California law allows a law enforcement officer to obtain an emergency GVRO at any time of the day or night. Because an emergency GVRO requires ‘immediate and present danger,’ it will be requested by law enforcement at the scene of the emergency and issued to the officer orally by the judge (generally over the phone).
How to obtain an Emergency GVRO:
- Explain to a judicial officer why reasonable grounds for the issuance of an emergency GVRO exist and ask for oral or written approval of the temporary emergency GVRO.
- Serve the order on the person to be restrained (if the person can reasonably be located).
- Request that any firearms, ammunition, and magazines be immediately surrendered and issue a receipt for the surrendered items (Penal Code § 18120). When ordered, the respondent must surrender firearms immediately.
- Take into temporary custody any firearms, ammunition, magazines, or other deadly weapons discovered in plain view or pursuant to consent or other lawful search (Penal Code § 18250).
- Inform the restrained person of any scheduled hearing regarding the order (Penal Code § 18160).
- Memorialize the order of the court on the Form EPO-002. If the order was obtained orally, the judicial officer will have to sign the form later on.
- File a copy of the order with the court as soon as practicable after issuance.
- Have the order entered into the computer database system for protective and restraining orders (CLETS) maintained by the Department of Justice.
- After the order is filed with the court, the court will schedule a hearing within 21 days in order to determine if a final GVRO is necessary. The respondent must be notified of the hearing at least five days prior to the hearing date.
- As soon as practicable, submit Proof of Personal Service to the Records (Form GV-200) Bureau Manager for prompt entry into the California Restraining and Protective Order System (Penal Code § 18115).
Once issued, the emergency GVRO will be in effect for 21 days.
When serving the order, the restrained person must surrender all guns, ammunition, and magazines to you or any other law enforcement officer serving the order and must be informed that he or she is not allowed to purchase or possess firearms for the duration of the order.
Any violation of the order is a misdemeanor punishable by a $1,000 fine or imprisonment for 6 months or both. Furthermore, the person will be prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms, ammunition, and magazines for an additional five-year period beginning on the expiration date of the original GVRO.
When an order is issued, the Superior Court will schedule a subsequent hearing within 21 days in which you and the respondent have an opportunity to explain whether a final GVRO should be issued.
Before the hearing, the subject can file a form with the court stating that they agree to voluntarily relinquish their firearms and ammunition within 48 hours. This filing also indicates that the subject is not contesting the GVRO. The judge will still examine evidence in order to set the duration of the GVRO and the GVRO can still be renewed despite the voluntary surrender.
After the hearing, if the court determines the respondent continues to pose a significant danger to self or others and removal of firearms, magazines, and ammunition is needed to prevent injury, a GVRO, prohibiting the purchase and possession of firearms, will be issued for a one to five year and can be renewed (see more below).
Temporary Gun Violence Restraining Orders (21 days):
Similar to Emergency GVROs, Temporary Gun Violence Restraining Orders (GVROs) can be issued for a 21 day period if petitioned for by law enforcement or family members, household members, employers, some co-workers, certain teachers/school employees. Employers can petition for a GVRO concerning any of their employees.
How To obtain a temporary GVRO:
- Read this document to decide if a GVRO is right for the situation: GV-100-INFO.
- Obtain and fill out forms GV-110, GV-109, CLETS-001, and GV-100 (used for the full final one-year GVRO). Forms may be obtained online here, you may also visit your local Superior or Civil courthouse to get assistance obtaining the correct forms.
- Have your forms reviewed at the court self-help center or by a lawyer.
- Make at least 5 copies of your completed forms and turn one copy of all completed forms into the Superior Court in the county where the person to be restrained lives.
- A Superior Court may issue a temporary GVRO, when there is a “substantial likelihood” that the person to be restrained “poses a significant danger in the near future of causing personal injury” to self or others by having access to a firearm and when the removal of firearms is necessary to prevent injury; and because less restrictive alternatives have been tried and found to be ineffective, or are inadequate or inappropriate for the circumstances. Temporary GVRO petitions are typically decided on the same day they are filed.
- Petitioning does not involve a criminal complaint and does not prevent you from seeking any other available legal remedy.
- If a temporary GVRO is issued by the court, the respondent must be “served” in person with a copy of the temporary order (Form GV-110) and notice of the hearing. State law allows for a county sheriff or marshal to serve the restrained person with the order and remove all of the respondent’s firearms, ammunition, and magazines, at no cost to you. (See SB-1200 for more info.) After the order is served, the officer must fill out a Proof of Personal Service (Form GV-200) and give it back to you.
- Serving a Gun Violence Restraining Order can be very dangerous. If an order has been issued, the Judicial Council of California recommends a law enforcement officer serve the order. The Judicial Council of California also recommends that you never ask a friend or family member, or private process server to serve a GVRO, or serve the order yourself.
- If you have questions about serving the order on the restrained person, read Form GV-200-INFO or visit this page from the Judicial Council of California.
Final Gun Violence Restraining Orders (one to five years):
Final Gun Violence Restraining Orders are available to law enforcement and family or household members, including spouses, parents, grandparents, children, stepparents, stepchildren, domestic partners, siblings, or roommates and persons who have regularly resided on the same property as the person to be restrained within the last six months.
A final GVRO may be issued after a hearing is held to determine if the respondent poses a significant danger to self or others and the removal of firearms, magazines, and ammunition is needed to prevent injury. Final GVROs are renewable.
How to obtain a Final GVRO:
- Obtain and fill out forms GV-100, GV-109, CLETS-001, and GV-110 (if applying for a temporary GVRO that would go into effect before the hearing). Forms may be obtained online here or may be available in person at your local Superior or Civil courthouse.
- Note: You do not need to petition for a temporary GVRO to obtain a final one-year GVRO, you may apply separately so long as you attend the hearing that will be scheduled within 21 days of filing your petition and that the respondent of the petition is served with a notice of the hearing.
- The judge will then schedule a hearing date within 21-days of the petition being filed. You must attend the hearing.
- At least five days prior to the court hearing date, copies of the above forms GV-100 and GV-109 must be served on the respondent. The Judicial Council of California recommends law enforcement always serve the order.
- If a temporary GVRO was issued, but the respondent was not served (such as when a respondent is not able to be located), you should fill out and file a Form GV-115 to request the court to hold the hearing at a later date.
- If the petition for a temporary GVRO was denied by a judge you may still be able to obtain a final GVRO at the court hearing that the judge will schedule within 21 days of approving or denying the temporary order. New evidence may be considered at the hearing, and the judge may find the final GVRO to be more appropriate for the respondent.
- A final GVRO may be issued by a Superior Court after a hearing if the court finds “clear and convincing evidence that the subject poses a significant danger of injury to self or others” by having access to a firearm and that the removal of firearms is necessary to prevent injury, and after the restrained person has had the opportunity to respond to the order. The judge can set the duration of a final GVRO between one and five years.
- When attending the hearing, you should take documents that help prove the reasons why a firearms restraining order is necessary. Take two copies of all documents and filed forms. Some of the documents may include:
- Written statements from witnesses (use Form MC-030)
- Any relevant photos
- Medical or police reports
- Damaged property
- Relevant letters, emails, or telephone messages
- Additionally, witnesses may attend the hearing and provide statements.
- During a hearing the court will access the dangerousness of the individual based on the following criteria:
- Recent threat or act of violence directed toward self or others
- A violation of a domestic violence emergency protective order that is in effect at the time the court is considering the petition
- A recent violation of an unexpired domestic violence protective order
- Any conviction for any crime that prohibits purchase and possession of firearms under California law (Read more about individuals who are prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms in California here)
- Patterns of violence or threatened violence within the prior 12 months directed toward self or others
- The court may consider any other evidence that is indicative of an increased risk of violence, such as the reckless use of a firearm.
- The court may also consider whether or not other means less restrictive than a restraining order have been tried and have not worked or are not appropriate
- Voluntary Relinquishment: The subject of an order can choose to not contest the GVRO. They can file a form before the court holds a hearing, indicating that they will voluntarily relinquish all their firearms and ammunition within 48 hours and for the duration of the GVRO. The judge will set the duration of the GVRO for up to 5 years and the GVRO can still be renewed.
After the hearing:
- If the final GVRO is approved and the restrained party has yet to surrender their firearms, ammunition, and magazines to law enforcement, they must do so right away. If a GVRO is issued to a non-law-enforcement petitioner, the petitioner may ask that law enforcement serve the order and remove the firearms, ammunition, and magazines, at no cost to the petitioner (see SB-1200 for more details).
- If the court issues a restraining order at the hearing, the judge must sign a written order on Form GV-130.
- If the respondent was at the hearing, you do not have to legally serve him or her with a copy of Form GV-130. If the respondent was not at the hearing, then they do need to be served a copy, similar to a 21-day temporary GVRO.
- After a GVRO is issued, you may choose to terminate the order if circumstances change. Click here to learn more about this process.
- You may renew a final GVRO within three months of the initial GVRO ending (but not after it ends). Click here to learn more about this process.
Source: California Judicial Council
|Gun Violence Emergency Protective Order
|Use to obtain a Temporary Emergency Gun Violence Restraining Order that is effective immediately for 21 days.
|Petition for Gun Violence Restraining Order
|Use to start the court case to get a Gun Violence Restraining Order that will last 21 days if approved by a judicial officer before a hearing.
|Temporary Gun Violence Restraining Order
|Will tell you if the judge signed the temporary Gun Violence Restraining Order (order before hearing).
|How Can I Respond to a Petition for a Gun Violence Restraining Order?
|Serve on the restrained person with the copy of your request and notice of hearing.
|Response to Petition for a Gun Violence Restraining Order
|Leave this form blank and serve on the restrained person with the copy of your request and notice of hearing.
|Proof of Firearms Turned In, Sold, or Stored
|Leave this form blank and serve on the restrained person with the copy of your request and notice of hearing.
|Gun Violence Restraining Order After Hearing
|Use to obtain a final order. If the judge grants a final order after a hearing, he or she will sign this form.