Los Angeles Gets Gun Grabby in Domestic Violence Cases

"Question No. 4: Have you stopped beating your wife?"At 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

“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

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

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

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

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.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/19/los-angeles-gets-gun-grabby-in-domestic

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