San Diego County Sheriff
Photo credit: Courtesy, San Diego County Sheriff’s Department

In February, the City Attorney’s Office obtained Gun Violence Restraining Orders against 19 individuals who posed a threat to themselves or others.

The GVROs allowed for the removal of guns and ammunition in dangerous situations that included four threats of suicide, four threats against current or former domestic partners, as well as threats targeting schools, police officers, a bar, and family members.

GVROs are obtained by the Office’s Gun Violence Response Unit on behalf of the San Diego Police Department and approved by a judge.

San Diego is a national leader in using “red flag” laws to prevent predictable gun violence and save lives. GVROs are civil orders that prohibit the use, purchase, or possession of all firearms and ammunition.

GVROs are used to intervene quickly when lives are at risk. An “emergency temporary” GVRO lasts 21 days. When a long-term gun prohibition is sought, respondents are afforded full due-process rights, including the right to legal representation at a court hearing. The after-hearing order can last between one and five years.

In all cases, by law, authorities must seek the least restrictive remedy that ensures the safety of individuals and the public.

Here is a look at some of the behaviors that led to GVROs in February:

  • Police responding to repeated 911 calls of a prowler attempting to break into an apartment found no evidence of a prowler. However, the caller told them that he had fired a shot at the alleged prowler. Upon investigating, police found that the bullet had gone through two walls before entering a neighbor’s apartment. The bullet struck no one. The caller admitted to being paranoid, stressed, and having gone 24 hours without sleep.
  • A woman who had been denied entrance to a bar threatened to go get her gun and shoot the security guard.
  • An employee threatened to “shoot the place up” if he didn’t receive his final check.
  • A woman in the beginning stages of dementia told police she had been kidnapped and injected with drugs. Her daughter explained that she appeared to be describing a recent trip to the hospital. Police removed a loaded firearm hidden in the apartment.
  • An aunt reported that her nephew had threatened to “get a gun and shoot teachers and students” at his high school because he believed they are racist.

Find out more about how the City Attorney’s Office is protecting San Diego from gun violence here.