Gun Violence Protection Order Bill Aims to Reduce Gun Violence in District
Posted on July 11, 2017 at 12:56 PM
Bill from Councilmember Nadeau allows residents and police to temporarily remove guns and prevent purchases if person is an immediate threat
WASHINGTON – Aiming to reduce gun violence in the District, today Ward 1 D.C. Councilmember Brianne K. Nadeau introduced a bill that will give residents and police more tools to reduce access to firearms by those who are a risk to themselves or others. Modeled after successful California legislation, the bill is a vehicle for people to petition the court for a temporary extreme civil protection order where there is an immediate and present danger that the subject will cause injury to themselves or others. It allows police to immediately remove guns and prevents the subject of the order from legally purchasing other firearms for 14 days. After 14 days, the court will decide based on testimony and evidence if there is significant threat of harm to self or others to justify removing the firearms for a one-year period. The bill was co-introduced by Councilmembers David Grosso and Anita Bonds.
"Everyone deserves to live in a community where they feel safe, and they should have the law on their side when they know someone presents an immediate threat,” said Councilmember Nadeau. “I introduced this legislation because I believe it can be a vital tool for residents and police to reduce gun violence in our neighborhoods and make the District a safer place for everyone."
“To reduce lethal violence against Black women, it is essential to keep guns away from domestic abusers,” said Rachelle M. Johnson, Public Policy Chair of the Washington, D.C. Chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women. “The D.C. Chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women urges the D.C. Council to adopt stronger legislation to protect victims of domestic violence and ensure that guns are surrendered by or removed from the presence of abusers. Accordingly, we support the Extreme Risk Civil Protection Order Amendment Act of 2017.”
"The presence of a gun in domestic violence situations increases the risk of homicide for women by 500%,” said Gretta Gardner, Deputy Director, DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence. “It is our mission to make sure those guns do not fall through the cracks of the system and back into the hands of abusive, violent offenders. We continue to zealously protect and support legislation that advances our human right—to live free of violence in our homes."
This legislation was first introduced in California in 2014 in response to a shooting at the University of California Santa Barbara where parents shared concerns with police and their son’s therapist that he was exhibiting dangerous behaviors. No one had authority to intervene and seven students were shot on campus. Several other states including Washington, Connecticut and Indiana have enacted similar laws. Without this legislation there is no legal process outside of domestic violence situations where individuals, law enforcement and families can act to remove guns where there is an elevated risk of violence.
This legislation provides another way to make the District’s neighborhoods, workplaces, houses of worship and even community gatherings safer. Research on Connecticut’s gun violence law has found that a life is saved for every 10-20 risk-warrants issued. Nationally, Black women are 2.5x more likely to be murdered than white women and 92% of them knew their killer. Firearms, especially handguns, were the most common weapon used. The bill is written so that it would cover gun violence in a variety of cases such as domestic violence, suicide prevention, work place and neighborhood violence, and people who are becoming mentally unstable but who have not been adjudicated by the court yet as being mentally unfit.