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Firearms Restraining Orders in California

Has someone accused you of domestic violence? If so, do you fear they will try to take your firearms away from you? If you are accused of causing personal injury to a family or household member, it is possible for the alleged victims to ask the court to issue a firearms restraining order against you.

What is a firearms restraining order and what are the effects? It is an official court order that prohibits the person named in the order from possessing or controlling ammunition and guns. If a firearms restraining order is taken out against you, it can order you to:

  • Not have or buy ammunition,
  • Not have any guns,
  • Not purchase any guns, and
  • Turn in any guns that you own to the police, store them with a licensed gun dealer, or sell them.

Usually, victims of domestic violence ask the court for a firearms restraining order if they are afraid that a household or family member may hurt themselves or someone else with a firearm. When people are in this situation, they are encouraged by the courts to ask the police to help them obtain a firearms restraining order.

Suppose a victim appears to be in immediate danger. In that case, the police can ask the court for a Firearms Emergency Protective Order. When such an order is issued, the police officer can take the person’s ammunition and firearms away from them and give them a copy of the emergency order.

Victims are only encouraged to ask the court for an order themselves if the police refuse to do it and the victim is very concerned that their family or household member might use a gun to harm themselves or someone else.

What if I’m Not Related to the Person?

What if someone is afraid that you’ll use a firearm to hurt yourself or someone else, but you’re not living with the person and you’re not related to them? If such a person is very concerned about what you might do, they can still contact the police. Depending on the facts of the case, the police may be willing to ask the court for a firearms restraining order on the person’s behalf, even if your own family cannot do it, or won’t do it.

A firearms restraining order is not the same as a domestic violence restraining order. It cannot order you to stay away from your family, nor can it order you to stop contacting your children and other relatives. It also can’t order you to move out of your home.

Related: Corporal Injury on a Spouse or Cohabitant

Temporary firearms restraining orders last about 21 days. If the judge grants the applicant’s request, they are in effect for one year and they can be renewed for one year at a time. If you need legal assistance with a firearms restraining order or domestic violence issue, contact our firm to meet with an Orange County criminal defense attorney for free.