In the wake of recent shootings, including the killings near University of California Santa Barbara this past print, California and New Jersey are considering gun seizure laws modeled on Connecticut’s law allowing judges to order the seizure of guns in light of “evidence that suggests a person is a danger to themselves or others.”
According to the San Jose Mercury News, Indiana has a law similar to the one in CT, and lawmakers in CA and NJ are both trying to push the same legislation in their states.
Opponents of the legislation worry that opening the door to this kind of law will give police the power to decide who can or can’t be armed, based on a what may be a disgruntled family member’s complaint. Barring that, another issue with the law is that it only works if people detect real mental problems before the individual in question acts on them.
For example, CT’s law was passed in 1999 to “prevent mass killings.” But Adam Lanza killed 20 students and 6 staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary on December 14, 2012.
CT undersecretary for criminal justice planning and policy Michael Lawlor says the law “could have” stopped Lanza “if police had been made aware that…[he] had mental problem’s and access to his mother’s legally owned guns.”
Which leads to another question: Will the new laws allow the guns of one family member to be seized because of the intentions and/or mental problems of another family member?
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter @AWRHawkins Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.