In California, a Gun Violence Restraining Order (GVRO) is a civil order that temporarily prohibits an individual who poses a significant danger of causing injury to self or others from purchasing or possessing any firearms or ammunition. Under California law, law enforcement, immediate family members, roommates, persons in a dating relationship with the respondent, people who share a child in common1, employers, co-workers2, and employees and teachers at a secondary or postsecondary school3 that the respondent has attended in the last 6 months, are authorized to petition for a GVRO.

There are three types of GVROs: emergency GVROs, temporary GVROs, and GVROs After Hearing. Law enforcement may request an emergency GVRO over the phone outside normal court hours. Law enforcement, immediate family members (including a spouse, whether by marriage or not, domestic partner, parent, child, any person related by consanguinity or affinity within the second degree), roommates, dating partners, people who share a child in common, employers, co-workers, and employees and teachers at a secondary or postsecondary school that the respondent has attended in the last 6 months, may petition for a temporary GVRO ex parte during court hours. An emergency GVRO and a temporary GVRO remain in effect until a hearing for a GVRO After Hearing, but no longer than 21 days, when both the petitioner and respondent may address the court. A GVRO After Hearing lasts between one and five years and may be terminated prior to its expiration or renewed through court processes defined in the law.

California’s GVRO law, like other Extreme Risk Protection Order laws, includes due process protections to ensure fairness. Due process protections in California’s GVRO law include ex parte GVROs issued by a judicial officer; a post-deprivation hearing where the respondent is provided notice and an opportunity to participate; and the requirement of substantial and credible evidence (e.g. the enumerated factors the judicial officer must consider) to issue a GVRO.

Explore the following resources to learn more about California’s GVRO law:

Background: The California legislature passed the GVRO into law in 2014 following a shooting in Isla Vista, CA, that left seven people including the shooter dead. Prior to the shooting, the shooter’s mother noticed he was behaving dangerously and asked law enforcement to intervene, but she was told that since her son was an adult and had not committed a crime, there was nothing they could do. 

California’s law went into effect on January 1, 2016.

1. Who has had substantial and regular interactions with the subject for at least one year.

2. Who has substantial and regular interactions with the respondent and with approval of their employer.

3. With approval of a school administrator or a school administration staff member with a supervisory role.