May 24, 2017

Feinstein Introduces Bill to Keep Guns from Individuals with Severe Mental Illness

This week marks third anniversary of Isla Vista shooting

Washington—In honor of the third anniversary of the mass shooting in Isla Vista, Calif., Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today introduced a bill that would allow family members to keep guns out of the hands of individuals with severe mental illness.

“One common thread that runs through mass shootings in this country is that family and friends were often aware that the perpetrators had significant mental illness and posed a threat to themselves or others,” said Senator Feinstein. “The family of the Isla Vista shooter had called law enforcement, fearing what their son might do, but police had no power to act. Families have little recourse if they want to ensure their loved ones do not 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. Senator Boxer first introduced this bill, and I’m proud to carry her work forward.”

The Gun Violence Prevention Order Act would allow states to use COPS funding to develop a court process that would allow family members to petition a court for a gun violence prevention order that would temporarily block individuals with severe mental illness from purchasing a weapon at a federally-licensed dealer. If a prevention order were granted, the individual would be designated a prohibited purchaser in the NICS background check system. 

States could also develop a court process that would allow family members to petition a court for a gun violence prevention warrant that would grant law enforcement the authority to temporary take weapons from individuals with severe mental illness who present a threat to themselves or others.

The bill contains significant due process protections by ensuring confidentially and the opportunity to be heard in court.

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