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DID YOU KNOW BY ATTORNEY F.M. ZAVALA

FIREARMS SURRENDER IN DOMESTIC VIOLENCE RESTRAINING ORDER CASES IN CALIFORNIA FAMILY LAW COURT



Under California Family Law Code section 6389.

(a) A person subject to a restraining order, shall not own, possess, purchase, or receive a firearm or ammunition while that restraining order is in effect. A person who owns, possesses, purchases, or receives, or attempts to purchase or receive a firearm or ammunition while the restraining order is in effect is punishable pursuant to Section 29825 of the Penal Code.


(b) On all forms providing notice that a protective order has been requested or granted, the Judicial Council shall include a notice that, upon service of the order, the respondent shall be ordered to relinquish possession or control of any firearms or ammunition and not to purchase or receive or attempt to purchase or receive any firearms or ammunition for a period not to exceed the duration of the restraining order.


(c) (1) Upon issuance of a protective order, as defined in Section 6218, the court shall order the respondent to relinquish any firearm or ammunition in the respondent’s immediate possession or control or subject to the respondent’s immediate possession or control.


(2) The relinquishment ordered pursuant to paragraph (1) shall occur by immediately surrendering the firearm or ammunition in a safe manner, upon request of a law enforcement officer, to the control of the officer, after being served with the protective order. A law enforcement officer serving a protective order that indicates that the respondent possesses weapons or ammunition shall request that the firearm or ammunition be immediately surrendered. Alternatively, if a request is not made by a law enforcement officer, the relinquishment shall occur within 24 hours of being served with the order, by either surrendering the firearm or ammunition in a safe manner to the control of local law enforcement officials, or by selling, transferring, or relinquishing for storage pursuant to Section 29830 of the Penal Code, the firearm or ammunition to a licensed gun dealer, as specified in Article 1 (commencing with Section 26700) and Article 2 (commencing with Section 26800) of Chapter 2 of Division 6 of Title 4 of Part 6 of the Penal Code. The law enforcement officer or licensed gun dealer taking possession of the firearm or ammunition pursuant to this subdivision shall issue a receipt to the person relinquishing the firearm or ammunition at the time of relinquishment. A person ordered to relinquish a firearm or ammunition pursuant to this subdivision shall, within 48 hours after being served with the order, do both of the following:


(A) File, with the court that issued the protective order, the receipt showing the firearm or ammunition was surrendered to a local law enforcement agency or sold to a licensed gun dealer. Failure to timely file a receipt shall constitute a violation of the protective order.


(B) File a copy of the receipt described in subparagraph (A) with the law enforcement agency that served the protective order. Failure to timely file a copy of the receipt shall constitute a violation of the protective order.


(3) The forms for protective orders adopted by the Judicial Council and approved by the Department of Justice shall require the petitioner to describe the number, types, and locations of any firearms or ammunition presently known by the petitioner to be possessed or controlled by the respondent.


(4) A court holding a hearing on this matter shall review the file to determine whether the receipt has been filed and inquire of the respondent whether they have complied with the requirement. Violations of the firearms prohibition of any restraining order under this section shall be reported to the prosecuting attorney in the jurisdiction where the order has been issued within two business days of the court hearing unless the restrained party provides a receipt showing compliance at a subsequent hearing or by direct filing with the clerk of the court.


(5) Every law enforcement agency in the state shall develop, adopt, and implement written policies and standards for law enforcement officers who request immediate relinquishment of firearms or ammunition.


(d) If the respondent declines to relinquish possession of a firearm or ammunition based on the assertion of the right against self-incrimination, as provided by the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution and Section 15 of Article I of the California Constitution, the court may grant use immunity for the act of relinquishing the firearm or ammunition required under this section.


(e) A local law enforcement agency may charge the respondent a fee for the storage of a firearm or ammunition pursuant to this section. This fee shall not exceed the actual cost incurred by the local law enforcement agency for the storage of the firearm or ammunition. For purposes of this subdivision, “actual cost” means expenses directly related to taking possession of a firearm or ammunition, storing the firearm or ammunition, and surrendering possession of the firearm or ammunition to a licensed dealer as defined in Section 26700 of the Penal Code or to the respondent.


(f) The restraining order requiring a person to relinquish a firearm or ammunition pursuant to subdivision (c) shall state on its face that the respondent is prohibited from owning, possessing, purchasing, or receiving a firearm or ammunition while the protective order is in effect and that the firearm or ammunition shall be relinquished to the local law enforcement agency for that jurisdiction or sold to a licensed gun dealer, and that proof of surrender or sale shall be filed with the court within a specified period of receipt of the order. The order shall also state on its face the expiration date for relinquishment. This section does not limit a respondent’s right under existing law to petition the court at a later date for modification of the order.


(g) The restraining order requiring a person to relinquish a firearm or ammunition pursuant to subdivision (c) shall prohibit the person from possessing or controlling a firearm or ammunition for the duration of the order. At the expiration of the order, the local law enforcement agency shall return possession of the surrendered firearm or ammunition to the respondent, within five days after the expiration of the relinquishment order, unless the local law enforcement agency determines that (1) the firearm or ammunition has been stolen, (2) the respondent is prohibited from possessing a firearm or ammunition because the respondent is in a prohibited class for the possession of firearms or ammunition, as defined in Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 29800) and Chapter 3 (commencing with Section 29900) of Division 9 of Title 4 of Part 6 of the Penal Code, Section 30305 of the Penal Code, and Sections 8100 and 8103 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, or (3) another successive restraining order is issued against the respondent under this section. If the local law enforcement agency determines that the respondent is the legal owner of a firearm or ammunition deposited with the local law enforcement agency and is prohibited from possessing a firearm or ammunition, the respondent shall be entitled to sell or transfer the firearm or ammunition to a licensed dealer as defined in Section 26700 of the Penal Code. If the firearm or ammunition has been stolen, the firearm or ammunition shall be restored to the lawful owner upon the owner identifying the firearm and ammunition and providing proof of ownership.


(h) The court may, as part of the relinquishment order, grant an exemption from the relinquishment requirements of this section for a particular firearm or ammunition if the respondent can show that a particular firearm or ammunition is necessary as a condition of continued employment and that the current employer is unable to reassign the respondent to another position where a firearm or ammunition is unnecessary. If an exemption is granted pursuant to this subdivision, the order shall provide that the firearm or ammunition shall be in the physical possession of the respondent only during scheduled work hours and during travel to and from the place of employment. When a peace officer is required, as a condition of employment, to carry a firearm or ammunition and whose personal safety depends on the ability to carry a firearm or ammunition a court may allow the peace officer to continue to carry a firearm or ammunition, either on duty or off duty, if the court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that the officer does not pose a threat of harm. Prior to making this finding, the court shall require a mandatory psychological evaluation of the peace officer and may require the peace officer to enter into counseling or other remedial treatment program to deal with any propensity for domestic violence.


(i) During the period of the relinquishment order, a respondent is entitled to make one sale of all firearms or ammunition that are in the possession of a local law enforcement agency pursuant to this section. A licensed gun dealer, who presents a local law enforcement agency with a bill of sale indicating that all firearms or ammunition owned by the respondent that are in the possession of the local law enforcement agency have been sold by the respondent to the licensed gun dealer, shall be given possession of those firearms or ammunition, at the location where a respondent’s firearms or ammunition are stored, within five days of presenting the local law enforcement agency with a bill of sale.


(j) The disposition of any unclaimed property under this section shall be made pursuant to Section 1413 of the Penal Code.


(k) The relinquishment of a firearm to a law enforcement agency pursuant to subdivision (g) or the return of a firearm to a person pursuant to subdivision (g) shall not be subject to the requirements of Section 27545 of the Penal Code.


(l) If the respondent notifies the court that the respondent owns a firearm or ammunition that is not in their immediate possession, the court may limit the order to exclude that firearm or ammunition if the judge is satisfied the respondent is unable to gain access to that firearm or ammunition while the protective order is in effect.


(m) A respondent to a protective order who violates an order issued pursuant to this section shall be punished under the provisions of Section 29825 of the Penal Code.

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