February 14, 2019

Feinstein Introduces Bill to Keep Guns from Dangerous Individuals

Washington—On the first anniversary of the mass shooting in Parkland, Fla., Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today introduced a bill that would help states develop court processes that allow family members to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous individuals.

            “One common thread that runs through mass shootings in this country is that family and friends are often the first to be aware that perpetrators pose threats to themselves or others,” said Senator Feinstein. “The Parkland shooter had a history of making threatening statements, but police had no power to act. Families have little recourse if they want to ensure their loved ones don’t get their hands on guns that could be used to kill themselves or others. Our bill would help states establish a court process to allow that to happen. California, Maryland and Florida have already done so, and the federal government should support other states that want to follow their lead.”

             In addition to Senator Feinstein, the bill is cosponsored by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Angus King (I-Maine), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.).

             Congressman Salud Carbajal (D-Calif.) has introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

             The Extreme Risk Protection Order Act would allow states to use COPS funding to develop court processes to allow family members to petition a court for a gun violence prevention order to temporarily block dangerous individuals from purchasing weapons from federally licensed dealers. If a prevention order were granted, the individual would be designated a prohibited purchaser in the NICS background check system. 

             States could also develop court processes that would allow family members to petition a court for an extreme risk protection order that would grant law enforcement the authority to temporarily take weapons from dangerous individuals who present a threat to themselves or others. The bill contains significant due process protections by ensuring confidentiality and the opportunity to be heard by a judge.

             California, Maryland and Florida have enacted laws to create a process for family members to obtain extreme risk protection orders.

             The bill is supported by Giffords: Courage to Fight Gun Violence, Everytown for Gun Safety, March for Our Lives, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Sandy Hook Promise and the Coalition Against Gun Violence.

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