Police

California Cops Become Mind Readers, Seize Your Guns

The new law is less about the firearms and more about trying to identify people who might be too dangerous to own them.

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SACRAMENTO — Gun-control efforts often center on hardware, such as limiting or banning the ownership of particular firearms and ammunition. But in California this year, the most significant new gun-related law is less about the guns and more about identifying people who might be too dangerous to own them.

A.B. 1014, which goes into effect Jan. 1, 2016, creates a Gun Violence Restraining Order that allows people who suspect a family member is mentally unstable or dangerous to get a court order forbidding that person from owning weaponry and ammo. The state legislature passed the bill in reaction to the tragic mass murder in May at Isla Vista.

"This year's mass shooting near Santa Barbara left six dead and 13 wounded," said U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D), following the governor's bill signing. "The gunman's mother saw signs that her son was a danger, yet she was powerless to prevent him from possessing firearms — even temporarily."

At first blush, the focus on people seems likely to build more consensus than a focus on hardware, given that gun-control opponents have long argued — as the cliché goes — that guns don't kill people, but people kill people. But nothing ever is simple.

Past efforts to, say, outlaw so-called assault rifles opened a can of worms, as it was far more difficult than expected to define the exact type of gun that fit the ban. Not surprisingly, it's even more difficult to describe human beings who might be dangerous — and to craft the right policies to stop them — than it is to detail the magazines and style of an outlawed weapon.

The Isla Vista murderer killed his first three victims by stabbing them, which reinforces a point made by John R. Lott Jr., author of the 1998 book, More Guns, Less Crime and president of the Crime Prevention Research Center: "Why not commit these individuals? You can't stop them from getting weapons."

Mass killers prepare their crimes for many months and even years in advance, he said in an interview Friday, and they rarely are deterred by legalities. In a New York Post column he coauthored, Lott also argues that psychiatric professionals aren't good at predicting behavior: "What seems like obvious telltale signs in retrospect are not so obvious before the attack, even to the experts. … Extremely few of those with mental illness go on to become killers."

Some of the law's supporters argue it won't do as much to protect against killing sprees as it will to keep guns away from suicidal people. Suicides might be easier to predict than mass shootings, but Lott's point also is valid about there already being a good remedy for these situations. Family members can petition a judge to have a dangerous or suicidal person committed for 72 hours to an institution for psychiatric evaluation.

The main problem critics have with the new law involves due process. A gun owner may be deprived of a constitutional right for a year based on the claims of even distant relatives and using a lower "reasonable" standard rather than the "clear and convincing" standard. Psychiatrists may not be great at predicting violent behavior, but the law takes them out of the process and leaves the decision in the hands of police officers and judges, who probably will err on the side of caution.

The person losing his or her rights wouldn't necessarily be at the hearing where the decision is made, but the law's supporters say that it has plenty of due-process protections because it allows the person to later challenge the court order. That can be time-consuming and takes place after the person has already lost gun rights, though.

People who would be slapped with this Gun Violence Restraining Order who already own guns would have their names placed in the Armed and Prohibited Persons System. Using that database, the California Department of Justice sends agents to confiscate the firearms of people on the list — i.e., those who no longer legally are allowed to own them. But the system is backlogged and riddled with errors, with inaccuracy rates as high as 40 percent or more.

It gets back to the Minority Report issue, referring to the 2002 science-fiction movie in which a Department of PreCrime arrests murderers before they commit the crime. While the fictional department relies on clairvoyants, real-world California policy makers must rely on less-reliable sources and databases. The new law is an interesting departure from the "ban the gun" approach, but there are plenty of reasons to be skeptical.

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66 responses to “California Cops Become Mind Readers, Seize Your Guns

  1. What happens when people start turning in Police Officers?

    1. Judges dismiss all the cases.

      Easy peasy.

    2. The person making the claim is immediately placed on a secret enemy of the state list.

  2. The Constitution lays out one and ONLY ONE definition of due process:

    A jury trial using the common law.

    During that jury trial, the prosecution may not employ hearsay. They also may not compel the defendant to testify against himself.

    Under those conditions, it is hard to imagine how one of these “gun loss” cases could be successfully brought. You can’t compel the defendant to get on the stand and say crazy shit. You can’t introduce hearsay testimony.

    You could introduce evidence of violent or threatening acts – but those are already illegal, so you could just try the defendant for those acts and take his guns away that way.

    The entire existence and basis of this law, and its only chance at operation, relies on a blatantly unconstitutional definition of due process.

    1. blatantly unconstitutional

      We’ll just see what the *Constitutional Scholars* have to say about that, Fluffy.

      1. It’s a living, breathing,evolving document. To disagree is to out yourself as an anti- science racist.

        1. And the guys who wrote it talked like fags.

          1. Racist !!!!11

          2. And they wore wigs like drag queens.

          3. Their shit was all retarded. My ex was a ‘tard. It’s not all bad; she’s a pilot now.

    2. Three words for you Fluffy – Administrative Law Bitches.

      Since administrative penalties are ‘reversable’ there’s no requirement for due process.

      1. I’m sorry, where is that in the constitution?

        1. And how is losing your constitutional rights and property for a year ‘reversible’?

    3. Actually, the constitution doesn’t provide *any* definition of due process. It just says that neither the feds (Amendment V) nor the states (Amendment XIV) can deprive anyone of life, liberty, or property without using it.

    4. Constitution? New York and more recently New Jersey, has for years entrapped rerouted by storm air traffic passengers legally carrying firearms in locked boxes. When being trasferred from 1 flight to another flight, security notices such transfers and makes arrests. Such arrests accumulate in the innocent having to take out a 2nd mortgage on their home just to answer the legal charges which get dismissed in the end.

      Constitution eh? The police can do anything they want to you peasant.

  3. Is that the PPQ?

      1. I should have remembered that. My cousin has that in .380

  4. The Walther logo sucks. It looks like it should be on a candy bar or something.

    1. Right! And I have 2 walthers.

  5. Anyone who wants a gun must, by definition, be insane, and therefore a danger to themselves and society. I think Joseph Heller wrote a novel about something along those lines a while back.

  6. I can’t wait for the guy who gets mad at City Hall, posts a Clint Eastwood “make my day” photo on facebook and then has his home raided and all his guns taken because Martha in the assessor’s office felt threatened.

  7. That can be time-consuming and takes place after the person has already lost gun rights

    Which means there is no “due process” because the accused must prove his/her innocence after the sentence.

    1. Well, that’s no burden. Everyone has lawyers on retainer these days anyway. Everyone who counts, that is.

  8. Some of the law’s supporters argue it won’t do as much to protect against killing sprees as it will to keep guns away from suicidal people.

    And that’s…a good thing to them. Why, exactly? Fuck off, slavers.

    1. I think you could make a case for rational suicide vs irrational suicide, but never make case for abridging people’s rights.

      1. Even people who are depressed own themselves.

        1. Sure they do. I was thinking more of the 13 y/o girl that cuts her wrist bc her BF dumped her vs years long depression.

          1. Certainly. But at the end of the day, we are left with two option; persuade the person not to end their life or put them in a strait jacket in a padded cell and watch them 24/7.

            1. When a person is impulsively attempting suicide, as is usually the case with minors, stopping the initial attempt would be all that’s needed. A mandatory sanity-proving waiting period may violate libertarian dogma, but it also would prevent tragedies.

          2. 13 year old girls are making a cry for attention. The overwhelming majority of gun suicides are adult males. It’s the most convenient way for them to do it. If they didn’t use a gun they’d just jump off a bridge.

    2. On a positive note, they’re giving suicidal people a reason to live: getting back at their family members who ganged up with the state to take their property and rights away.

    3. If you want an abortion, you own your own body. If you want to kill *YOURSELF*, the State owns you. Fuck off, slavers.

  9. Fuck man, for some reason I thought this was written by Chapman. Needless to say, I was very confused.

  10. “What seems like obvious telltale signs in retrospect are not so obvious before the attack, even to the experts. … Extremely few of those with mental illness go on to become killers.”

    No shit. A parade of people will crawl out of the woodwork to say, “Ah allus knowed thet boy warn’t raaaaht! A damn bliiiind man could see it.”

  11. … the California Department of Justice sends agents to confiscate the firearms of people on the list…

    And because there are guns present, the “confiscation” will be a no-knock SWAT type raid, that makes a goo possibility that your loved one will be shot to death. So, you were concerned about your loved one, and instead of getting them psychiatric health, you decided to get the police to murder them?

    This isn’t going to end well.

    1. You know that won’t happen.

      SWAT teams don’t perform no-knock raids on really dangerous people. They arrest them at their mailbox like Whitey Bulger or in a public place.

      It’s only where their is a low chance of being shot that they perform no-knock raids.

  12. “But the system is backlogged and riddled with errors, with inaccuracy rates as high as 40 percent or more.”

    I would love to see the inaccuracy rate statistics pinned down a little better. “as high as X percent or more.” could mean anything. That said, a 40% error rate isn’t the government making mistakes, it’s the government doing something it hasn’t any authority to do, and then backing off if called on it.

  13. What happens when anti-gun family members start to turn in family members just to get guns out of the family?

    What happens when family members turn in family members involved in a family dispute?

    What happens when family members turn in family members’ spouses because they don’t like them for being in a homosexual marriage with a family member?

    What happens when family members turn in family members’ spouses because they don’t like them for being in a interracial marriage with a family member?

    I see this getting really ugly?

    1. It’s already plenty ugly, I’d say.

    2. That was not the intended effect of the law, so those things are therefore unforeseeable and won’t happen unless those evil bitter clingers start sowing discord and undermining all our good intentions.

    3. What happens when pro-gun family members who had their guns taken turn in anti-gun family members to enjoy watching police tear their homes apart looking for guns that don’t exist?

    4. What happens when anti-gun family members start to turn in family members just to get guns out of the family?

      Oh, come on, now. That would never happen.

    5. Note that the person who’s turned in doesn’t have to have guns already — they can be prohibited from purchase.

      So pro-gun family members can turn in apathetic family members, who will then have standing to challenge the law in court.

  14. So, you were concerned about your loved one, and instead of getting them psychiatric health, you decided to get the police to murder them?

    If the life insurance doesn’t pay off in the event of suicide, it’s a rational play.

    1. Since you’re at fault, the police will charge you with your own murder.

      1. Ya gotta love the police’s power to charge people with vicarious murder. Just to be clear, if police get their powers from ‘the people’ who bestow the exercise of their rights and duties to LEOs, then on a fundamental level everyone has the right to negligently and/or vindictively kill a person and charge yet another person with the murder.

        So a guy shoves me on the street and then I shoot his wife in the head and charge him with the murder, since he started the fight. That’s how law and justice works right?

        1. That only works if you’re a cop.

  15. “The gunman’s mother saw signs that her son was a danger, yet she was powerless to prevent him from possessing firearms ? even temporarily.”

    “Family members can petition a judge to have a dangerous or suicidal person committed for 72 hours to an institution for psychiatric evaluation.”

    “Why not commit these individuals? You can’t stop them from getting weapons.”

    So, in other words, there was already a way to accomplish the exact goals of this law. However, since no one was using it they’re going to put another law in place that does the exact same thing in virtually the exact same way only without any professional evaluation to justify it. (Not that there’s any clear evidence that such evaluation is actually effective but it removes even the illusion that it might be.)

    What is the definition of madness again?

    1. Mom didn’t want to be the Bad Guy, she wanted the cops to be the Bad Guy.
      Since doing the right thing would have made her feel uncomfortable, she did nothing, and six people died – but only two by ‘gun violence’.

    2. Isla Vista happened because a mom did not want to have her crazy son put on a (CA Health & Safety Code section) 5150 hold. Instead, she did nothing. He committed five murders, three with a knife.

  16. Not surprisingly, it’s even more difficult to describe human beings who might be dangerous

    Stop right there. All people are dangerous. 99% of adults on this planet could kill you if they wanted to. They don’t because they don’t want to. We all rely “on the kindness of strangers”.

    I am incredibly deadly, having been trained by the US government to kill people and break things (specifically by the Marine Corps). The thing is, I don’t intend to kill anyone.

    (An aside, thank God that I follow Christ instead of some violent way like my narcissistic human side wants to. I fear what kind of violence I would do if I didn’t recognize that vengeance was His!)

    It isn’t ability but intent that prevents us from killing each other.

  17. Lots of Fido’s gonna die, as well as a few stomped kittens.

  18. You wretched “people” that willingly reside in California:

    Get the Hell out of my country.

  19. “This year’s mass shooting near Santa Barbara left six dead and 13 wounded,” said U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D), following the governor’s bill signing. “The gunman’s mother saw signs that her son was a danger, yet she was powerless to prevent him from possessing firearms ? even temporarily.”

    Please!

    Doesn’t anybody remember that three of the six people murdered in this “shooting” were stabbed to death, and most of those “wounded” were hit with a car? And that the parents didn’t know their son had bought three handguns, but the cops who welfare-checked the kid could have found that out with a phone call and just didn’t bother? And that California has a state police unit that does nothing but confiscate guns from people on their little list?

    “Pants on fire” Feinstein.

  20. I don’t expect this law to survive the first whiff of a Constitutional challenge.

    1. Like Obamacare?

    2. Which could take 5-10yrsm, plenty of time to pass other ‘I just want to make you safe’ laws.

  21. Would you hand a dangerous weapon to someone with a $468 dollar a year New York Post Habit ?

  22. “But in California this year, the most significant new gun-related law is less about the guns and more about identifying people who might be too dangerous to own them.”

    Buuuullllllsh………….!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Nancy “crazy bird-looking lady” Skinner has been wanting this law passed for YEARS. Isla Vista was just a convenient pretext and Richard Martinez proved himself to be an exceptionally useful tool in making this law a reality.

    This bill is another obstacle to exercising Second Amendment rights.
    That is the MO of this legislature: to make gun ownership onerous, difficult, expensive and not worth the trouble.

    The kid gloves treatment that Steven Greenhut gives this bill is utterly disgraceful.

  23. Oh my, Feinstein is speaking about it and telling us, “It’s not about taking away your guns.” Maybe, but it’ll surly get used by Cali to take ’em if in way the possibility arises. They just released 40,000 non-violent criminals last year, of which I bet 1000s are crazy. Nice for her to be so concerned about crazy folks being out here. (sarc)

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  25. So how long until this law is used for a different take on SWATing? Claim someone is dangerous just because you hate them or guns.

  26. HAHAHA, they think the only means of firearms ownership are state sanctioned ones.

    Everybody, let’s point and laugh together.

  27. The Minority Report comes true in California.

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