The San Diego Union-TribuneSan Diego City Attorney Mara Elliott has been a pioneer in the use of gun-violence restraining orders since a state law allowing them took effect in 2016. Since then, close family members or law enforcement officials who believe gun owners are threats to themselves or others can ask a judge to seize a gun owner’s weapons for up to a year, and then maybe longer. Elliott has obtained 300 such orders since late 2017, and the community is safer as a result.

Now there is pending legislation in Sacramento that would expand the scope of these orders. Assembly Bill 61, by Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, would allow a school employee, a co-worker or an employer to request such orders. Given America’s ugly history of school and workplace violence, this is a reasonable and appropriate bill.

But Assembly Bill 12 by Assemblywoman Jacqui Irwin, D-Thousand Oaks, goes too far by extending the length of gun-violence restraining orders to five years. Gun owners could submit one written request a year for a hearing to ask a judge to end the restraining order, but that doesn’t offer enough protection for their due process rights and is a step too far when multiple-year seizures are possible now.

State lawmakers’ interest in limiting gun violence is welcome. But a difficult balancing act remains.
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