How to Get a GVRO

Information for Law Enforcement

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). To obtain an emergency GVRO the officer must do the following:

  • 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 subject of the order (if the subject 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). If ordered the subject must surrender firearms immediately.
  • Take into temporary custody any firearm or other deadly weapon 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 maintained by the Department of Justice.
  • As soon as practicable, submit Proof of Personal Service to the Records 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 subject 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.

Alternatively, if the subject is determined to not to be an immediate threat to harm themselves or others, within 24 hours of the order being served, the subject may elect to sell or store their firearms with a federally licensed gun dealer and submit a form GV-800. The subject must also provide a receipt showing proof of the sale or payment for storage service within 48 hours to the law enforcement agency which served the order. Failure on the part of the restrained person to do so will be a violation 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 5-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 subject have an opportunity to explain whether a one-year GVRO should be issued. If, after the hearing, the court determines the subject continues to pose a significant danger to self or others and removal of firearms is needed to prevent injury, a GVRO, prohibiting the purchase and possession of firearms, will be issued for up to 1-year (see more below).

GVRO After Notice and a Hearing (one-year)

One-year 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 subject of the petition within the last six months.

  • Obtain and fill out forms GV-100, CLETS-001, and GV-109, and submit them to the Superior Court in the county in which the subject of the petition resides.
  • The judge will then schedule a hearing date within 21-days of the petition being filed.
  • Prior to the court hearing, copies of the above forms GV-100 and GV-109 must be served on the subject.
  • A one-year GVRO may be issued by a Superior Court after a hearing of  your petition shows by “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 subject of the petition has the opportunity to respond to the order.
  • When attending the hearing, take documents that help prove the reasons why you think a firearms restraining order is necessary. Take 2 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
    • A threatening letter, email, or telephone message
  • 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

If the one-year 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, or arrange to have them stored with or sold to an authorized gun dealer within 24 hours. 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 subject was at the hearing, you do not have to legally serve him or her with a copy of Form GV-130. If the subject was not at the hearing, then they do need to be served a copy, similar to a 21-day Temporary Emergency 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 one-year 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 one-year order. If the judge grants a one-year order after a hearing, he or she will sign this form.

Where to File