Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, on Thursday introduced The Pause for Safety Act, a bill that will encourage states to empower families and others with new tools to prevent a tragedy if someone they are close to poses a threat to themselves or others.
Through establishing a new grant program, the bill would help ensure that family members can go to a court to seek a “gun violence prevention order” to temporarily stop someone who poses a threat to themselves or others from purchasing or possessing a gun. The bill will also ensure that a court can issue a “gun violence prevention warrant,” allowing law enforcement to step in if the court determines the individual poses a threat to themselves or others. Finally, the bill ensures that law enforcement can make full use of all existing state and local gun databases when investigating a warning or request from a family member.
States that adopt these preventative measures would be eligible to receive federal funding under the grant program to help pay for the measures.
“Our community in Isla Vista has been upended by this horrific act of violence,” Capps said. “We need reasonable, common sense solutions so that we all feel safe in our homes and out in our communities. This important bill will allow families who see disturbing warning signs the ability to work with law enforcement and the courts so that they may intervene and better prevent acts of violence. Far too often there are many red flags but no one is able to connect the dots. This bill seeks to do just that.”
“It is haunting to me that the family of the gunman was desperate to prevent an act of violence and alerted police, but they were still unable to stop this tragedy,” Boxer said. “When the people who know someone best fear there is a threat of violence, they should be able to go to court – with due process for everyone involved — to help prevent a tragedy.”
“We must do everything in our power to keep firearms out of the hands of those who pose a serious risk of harm to themselves or to others,” Feinstein said. “I’m pleased to work with Senator Boxer on this bill, which creates a new grant program to encourage states to allow family members and others to seek court orders to temporarily prohibit dangerous individuals from possessing a firearm. The bill would allow those who know the most about the condition of someone who poses a risk of committing violence to take steps to remove firearms from that individual’s possession.”
In California, Assemblyman Das Williams and state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, along with Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, have introduced similar legislation.
— Chris Meagher is the press secretary for Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara.