Congressman Salud Carbajal and Santa Barbara County District Attorney John Savrnoch held a webinar on Wednesday to discuss California’s “red flag” laws.

Carbajal and Savrnoch discussed how the gun violence restraining order works, how to bring awareness and how residents can utilize the laws. 

The Extreme Risk Protection Act, which was Carbajal’s bill to provide funding for expanded use of red flag laws, was signed into law by President Biden last summer. 

California’s red flag law was introduced in 2014, shortly after the mass shooting in Isla Vista.

Savrnoch said on Wednesday that red flag laws allow for people to take preventable action against violence. If someone sees the signs of gun violence in someone they know, they can go to court and petition for any guns or ammunition to be taken away from that person. 

“Red flag laws only work if people know about them and how to use them,” Carbajal said on Wednesday. “That’s for both citizens, those in the courts and our law enforcement.”

As long as a person can prove they have had sufficient contact with the subject of the restraining order for a year, anyone from the person’s spouse to their coworker can petition the court, according to Savrnoch.

The petitioner also has to prove that the person owns guns and that less restrictive measures either have not worked or wouldn’t work. The decision is ultimately up to a judge to decide whether the evidence warrants a gun violence restraining order. 

Some of the warning signs that can fall under a gun violence restraining order include making online threats, stalking, previous incidents with assault weapons, and domestic violence.

“Aggressive behavior or professing to engage in aggressive or dangerous behavior are the things that people should look out for,” Savrnoch said.

There are several levels to how long the restraining order will be in place. A temporary order can be in place for 21 days and then apply for a “permanent order” that lasts for one to five years, Savrnoch said.

Savrnoch suggests that if someone sees these warning signs and feels that there is an immediate threat to contact law enforcement. Law enforcement can also file for a gun violence restraining order and often has more experience doing so.

Savrnoch said the laws will help with education around gun violence and make it easier to bring awareness to the resources available to the public and law enforcement.

“It’s a huge boost to an otherwise burdened law enforcement system and the legal system we work in,” Savrnoch said.

Carbajal and Savrnoch ended their webinar by saying there still needs to be more action to end the pattern of gun violence across the country.

“We need to do more,” Carbajal said. “We need to pass other laws, but this law in particular gives us another tool to continue to address these mass shootings and avoid tragedies in the future.”