California will become the first state that allows family members to ask a judge to remove firearms from a relative who appears to pose a threat, under legislation Gov. Jerry Brown said Tuesday he had signed.
The bill was proposed by several Democrats and responds to a deadly rampage in May near the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Relatives of the victims and other supporters of the bill said the parents of 22-year-old Elliot Rodger were thwarted in their attempts to seek help for their troubled son before the rampage.
Supporters had said such a measure could have prevented the attacks, winning out over critics who said it would erode gun rights.
“If both of these laws had been in place on May 23, things could have been very different,” Rodger’s father, Peter Rodger, said in a statement Tuesday night. “California, today, is a safer state because of this legislation. Let’s hope other states follow.”
Law enforcement authorities in Connecticut, Indiana and Texas can seek a judge’s order allowing them to seize guns from people they deem to be a danger.
The new California law gives law enforcement the same option and extends it to family members.
It continues California’s efforts to lead the nation in preventing firearm injury and death, said Amanda Wilcox, an advocate for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, whose daughter was a victim of gun violence.