Los Angeles Gets Gun Grabby in Domestic Violence Cases

"Question No. 4: Have you stopped beating your wife?"Credit: disrupsean / Foter.com / CC BY-SAAt a press conference yesterday, Los Angeles city officials announced that they’re going to get grabby about guns owned by defendants in domestic violence cases. Or rather, as grabby as the law apparently already allows them to be.

Here’s how the Los Angeles Daily News described it:

A new way to deal with those accused of domestic violence was unveiled Wednesday, with the City Attorney’s Office and Los Angeles Police Department seeking to remove guns from those accused of abuse.

“Once someone is arrested for domestic abuse, the LAPD will inform my office, and we will take steps to remove their guns,” City Attorney Mike Feuer said at a City Hall news conference. “Each week in the United States, nine women are killed by handguns. We can do better than that.”

Feuer said the new prosecution protocol developed by his office with advocacy groups over the past six months is designed to reduce the possibility of further violence.

Under current law, those accused of domestic violence are prohibited from owning a weapon. Violators could face additional criminal charges.

There’s some awkwardness in the newspaper’s reporting. This isn’t actually a new way of dealing with domestic violence and the description of “current law” is a bit misleading. The story gives readers the impression that simply being accused of domestic violence is enough to get your guns taken away. Here’s how the Los Angeles Police Department lists the regulations connected to gun possession and domestic violence cases:

12028.5 PC Family Violence/Firearms Seizure

The police at the scene of family violence, involving a threat to human life or physical assault, may take temporary custody of any firearm or deadly weapon in plain sight or by consensual search for the protection of the peace officer or other persons present. The police may retain the weapons up to 72 hours unless the weapons were seized as evidence or for an additional crime.

12021(g) PC Restrictions on Firearm Possession

Persons subject to a restraining order may not obtain, receive, purchase or otherwise acquire a firearm.

The person must know they are subject to the restraining order and the restraining order must contain in bold print that they are prohibited from receiving or purchasing or attempting to receive or purchase a firearm, and the penalties. (This does not apply if a firearm is received as part of a community property settlement).

6389 PC Relinquishment Of Firearms

Prohibits person subject to a Domestic Violence protective order from owning or possessing a firearm while protective order is in effect.

Exemption may be granted if a firearm is a necessary condition of employment. A person may possess only during scheduled work hours and during travel to and from work.

So, the gun grabbing only applies if a judge rules that a protective order is justified and only lasts for the duration of the order. The Daily News reporting makes it appear like the city attorney’s office is going beyond the bounds of the law and snatching guns on the basis of just accusations, but the Los Angeles affiliate of CBS is a little bit more specific in their reporting. What the city says will happen is that the city attorney’s office and the LAPD are going to communicate better on domestic violence cases, so that if a judge does issue a protective order, the city will respond and actually enforce the existing laws and prosecute those who try to bypass it.

Obviously “Wait, this isn’t as bad as you think it is!” should not be taken as an endorsement of these laws. The discussion of the abuse of women seems to conflate the use of a weapon with the existence of the abuse itself, like the gun is somehow a factor in causing the violence and not a tool the abuser selects. Even as the city announces this effort to step up enforcement of these laws, they also noted that domestic violence cases in Los Angeles are actually down.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    End of the line for the lead bullet? Regulations, bans force switch to 'green' ammo

    Whether by state or federal regulation, or by market forces, lead bullets will be all but phased out within a few years in favor of so-called green bullets, experts say. While many believe that this will help the environment by keeping lead from contaminating groundwater, others say switching to copper-based bullets will cost hunters and sportsmen more and have little effect on the environment.

    God, I hate progs.

  • ||

    It will never happen. Lead is too cheap and too perfect. You think the military or LEOs will accept copper bullets? And even though they think they're better than us, that'll be an incredibly difficult legal challenge to defend (that they get lead bullets and we don't).

    They've been trying this for years, from shutting down ranges because of too much lead in berms to trying to screw up bird hunting because of all the lead shotgun pellets falling all over the place.

    Yeah, they'll never stop, but this is a super tough one for them. So they can go fuck themselves.

  • sarcasmic||

    Lead is too cheap and too perfect.

    So are incandescent light bulbs.

  • UnCivilServant||

    You mean heat lamps?

    I have sixty watt heat lamps for sale if you want them.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Lotta places mandating non-toxic shot. Public hunting areas in South Dakota mandate no lead now.

    Between the EPA and the tree huggers, I'm afraid it's only a matter of time.

  • Generic Stranger||

    LEO's, probably not, but the military is already phasing out lead bullets, at least for practice.

  • Gray Ghost||

    You think the military or LEOs will accept copper bullets?

    As far as the military goes, they're having to. M855A1 is a copper round with a steel tipped penetrator. Supposedly they like the barrier-blind performance and armor-piercing capabilities of the round. The latter, of course, is why I doubt you'll see surpluses of it available for civilian use.

    From what I've read, it's still not better than either Mk 318 or Mk 262. How it's going to be cheaper than either, given the copper construction, I've no idea. And it's not like copper's all that docile in the water table either.

  • ||

    Obama just wasn't satisfied with being gun salesman of the year, so he's branched into ammo sales as well.

  • UnCivilServant||

    “Each week in the United States, nine women are killed by handguns. We can do better than that.”

    When I first read that, I was convinced he wanted more women to be shot. For a second I dismissed that thought, then I realized he wanted more bodies to stand on to decry the evil gun.

  • Smilin' Joe Fission||

    I definitely read it at first glance that he wants more women killed by handguns.

    I wonder how many of those deaths are surrounded by gang violence or some other illegal activity?

  • Brett L||

    I'll bet more women die of DHMO inhalation. When will Big DHMO be scrutinized?!

  • UnCivilServant||

    DHMO is perfectly safe as long as the deuterium content is low enough. Unfortunately, Big DHMO allows Deuterium levels to reach as high as 311ppm! Don't you know what Deuterium does? Someone think of the children!

  • Invisible Finger||

    Let this be a lesson: don't just abuse someone, go all the way and kill them so your odds of keeping your gun are better.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    “Each week in the United States, nine women are killed by handguns. We can do better than that.”

    How does it go?

    "If, something something, there'd be a bounty on 'em."

  • Andrew S.||

    I, for one, completely agree with this. After all, I'm sure that someone who would otherwise attempt to kill their spouse will be completely deterred by the illegality of the gun they might use to commit such an act.

  • ||

    Oh! We can't touch it, Dad. It's behind the velvet rope. A velvet rope!

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Feuer said the new prosecution protocol developed by his office with advocacy groups over the past six months is designed to reduce the possibility of further violence.

    Yeah, right. Nothing says "We want to reduce the possibility of violence" like sending a bunch of heavily armed amped up goons to somebody's house in the dead of night to forcibly confiscate his guns.

  • Ken Shultz||

    And they keep piling on reasons not to register a firearm!

    Nothing says "We want to reduce the possibility of violence" like piling on reasons not to register and fueling a black market for gangs and convicted felons to exploit.

  • H. ReardEn||

    Exemption may be granted if a firearm is a necessary condition of employment. A person may possess only during scheduled work hours and during travel to and from work.

    So when the LEO comes home from work, how does he relinquish possession of his firearm then regain it when it's time to go back to work? This exemption makes no sense, not that I expect there was any intent to enforce any violation of the wording of this exemption. I suspect that that thought a 'does not apply to LEO's' expemtion would have been too brazen.

  • R C Dean||

    I would expect a new Firearms Compliance Office will be tasked with sending someone to the cop's home twice a day to pick up and deliver his piece.

    Naturally, the additional staff will be unionized. So, everyone (who matters) wins!

  • Rich||

    The police ... may take temporary custody of any firearm or deadly weapon in plain sight or by consensual search

    I suppose the police take temporary custody of very few weapons, then.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "So, the gun grabbing only applies if a judge rules that a protective order is justified and only lasts for the duration of the order."

    How often do judges in Los Angeles reject a request for a protective order?

    Do judges factor that you own a registered gun into the decision of whether a protective order is granted? If owning a registered firearm makes it more likely that a protective order is granted, it's hardly any comfort that you'll only lose your gun if a protective order is granted.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I've heard that having registered a gun can be a factor in obtaining a search warrant.

    If the cops have evidence that you made a cocaine transaction (even if you're the buyer), they can present the cocaine transaction along with the fact that you registered a gun as probable cause to get a warrant to raid your home.

    My understanding is that they don't just make you register your gun so they can make sure you're not a felon. What's the point of having a database if they're not going to use it?

  • R C Dean||

    Since when does being merely accused, not convicted, of a crime support punishment?

  • Harvard||

    hahahahahahahahahaha....

    Wait, you were being serious.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Gun prohibition will work out as well as alcohol prohibition, drug prohibition, and sodomy prohibition.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement