AB 1014: California Democrats Wage War on the Constitution
Two California Democrats in the State Assembly, Nancy Skinner and Das Williams, have authored what may well be the most draconian and flagrantly unconstitutional bill in the state’s, and maybe even the nation’s, history.
AB 1014 provides for the addition to the California Penal Code of provisions involving “gun violence restraining orders” and associated “firearm seizure warrants.”
Here is proposed statutory language pertaining to the gun violence restraining orders (hereinafter GVROs):
18100. (a) A gun violence restraining order is an order, in writing, in the name of the people, signed by a magistrate, prohibiting a named person from having under his or her custody or control, owning, purchasing, possessing, or receiving any firearms for a period of up to one year. A firearm seizure warrant is an order, in writing, in the name of the people, signed by a magistrate, regarding a person who is subject to a gun violence restraining order and who is known to own or possess one or more firearms, which is directed to a peace officer, commanding him or her to seize any firearms in the possession of the named person and to bring the unloaded firearm before the magistrate.
Here is statutory language on offer regarding firearm seizure warrants:
(b) A firearm seizure warrant is an order, in writing, in the name of the people, signed by a magistrate, regarding a person who is subject to a gun violence restraining order and who is known to own or possess one or more firearms, which is directed to a peace officer, commanding him or her to seize any firearms in the possession of the named person and to bring the unloaded firearm before the magistrate.
The way the statute is supposed to work is as simple, and as horrifying, as the minds that produced it. To begin with, under the statutory language the GVRO and/or firearm seizure process can be initiated by anyone -- and I do mean anyone:
18101. (a) Any person may submit an application to the court, on a form designed by the Judicial Council, setting forth the facts and circumstances necessitating that a gun violence restraining order be issued. A gun violence restraining order shall be issued to prohibit a named person from possessing a firearm if an affidavit, signed by the applicant under oath, and any additional information provided to the court demonstrates, to the satisfaction of the court, the named person poses a significant risk of personal injury to himself or herself or others by possessing firearms.
The statute commands that the magistrate shall, in assessing what may well be randomly or maliciously submitted affidavits, consider “recent threats” of violence or acts of violence against others or oneself (see 18102 of the bill.)
How do you think leftist judges will construe “threats”?
In actuality, though, it might not matter, since the statute provides that, in determining probable cause to issue the GVRO and/or firearm seizure warrant, the magistrate may consider:
(7) Evidence of recent acquisition of firearms or other deadly weapons
Isn’t that interesting? What a clever way to impair the rights of would-be gun owners!
Plus, we should recognize that although the statute prescribes what magistrates shall and may consider, nothing in the statute indicates what they cannot consider, and you can be sure that this portends judges considering everything under the sun they deem it reasonable to consider.
Here’s something else. The probable cause determination described above is rendered in the complete absence of victim gun owners or victim prospective gun purchasers, and so, therefore, are the resulting GVROs and/or firearm seizure warrants.
Indeed, the victims of this proposed law might have no idea they have even been targeted until police show up at the door, conceivably in the middle of the night (see the “proposed form” of the firearm seizure warrant in the statute).
What’s that about a right to be heard, you say?
Oh, don’t worry; that comes two weeks after the authorities have already snatched guns or prohibited people from owning them.
Two weeks after the destruction of your Constitutional rights, then, you will be graciously accorded the right to convince California judges that you’re not a recent purchaser of a weapon (and too bad, so sad for you if you are, I guess) and/or that the frowns you displayed upon having your rights violated did not “threaten” some statist or other.
Moreover, one might ask: how successful do you think the statute’s victims are likely to be given that at their hearings they will find themselves confronted by the same state that gleefully trampled their First Amendment, Second Amendment, and Fourth Amendment rights in the first place?
Dr. Jason Kissner is associate professor of criminology at California State University, Fresno. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.