Cottie Petrie-Norris

Legislation expanded to protect domestic violence survivors from ghost guns

Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris has expanded legislation to close a critical loophole in Gun Violence Restraining Orders (GVROs) to also cover Domestic Violence Restraining Orders (DVROs). AB 1057 will allow for ghost guns to be seized when an individual is deemed to be an extreme risk to themselves or others, or if a person has perpetrated abuse or threats of abuse.

“We have seen a horrific spike in the number of gun violence cases involving domestic violence during the COVID-19 Pandemic, which has only heightened the need to close loopholes in our gun safety laws,” said Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Laguna Beach). “By expanding AB 1057 to include DVROs, we can keep these DIY guns that look and kill like any other gun out of the hands of domestic violence perpetrators.”

A 2020 Bloomberg report found that 59.1% of the nearly 750 mass shootings from the previous six years were either domestic violence attacks or were committed by men with histories of domestic violence. Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic, there has been a recorded increase in these rates. More than 2,000 people were killed by domestic-violence-related shootings in 2020 — a 4% increase nationwide over 2019, according to data from the Gun Violence Archive. In California, the total number of domestic violence-related calls for assistance involving a firearm rose from 1,388 in 2019 to 1,974, an increase of 42%.

“The presence of firearms in a situation of domestic violence significantly increases the risk of homicide, and AB 1057 closes an important loophole by ensuring that ghost guns can be seized when a domestic violence restraining order is issued,” said Krista Colon, Public Policy Director, California Partnership to End Domestic Violence. “We thank the Assemblywoman for her work on this important legislation to keep survivors and families safe.”

Ghost guns are homemade guns made from parts that are readily available and unregulated. Unlike other firearms, they can be bought without a background check and are not built by licensed manufacturers but come in kits that are easily assembled. The California Penal Code does not classify ghost guns as firearms, which prevents law enforcement from seizing them when serving a GVRO or a DVRO.

By allowing for ghost guns to be seized under GVROs and DVROs, AB 1057 will ensure that those who are a known danger to themselves or others are not able to have these precursor parts which can be readily converted into a functional firearm.

AB 1057 is supported by Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence, California Partnership to End Domestic Violence, Center for Public Interest Law (Sponsor), Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund, Giffords, March for Our Lives San Diego, Moms Demand Action, San Diego City Attorney’s Office, San Diegans for Gun Violence Prevention, Students Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and Women for American Values and Ethics.

This bill will be heard next by the Senate Appropriations Committee.

This bill is co-authored by Assemblymembers Marc Berman (D-Menlo Park), Jesse Gabriel (D-Woodland Hills), Marc Levine (D-Marin County), Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton) and Mark Stone (D-Monterey Bay).

This article was released by the Office of Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris.