Governor Newsom Signs AB 61 – Allowing an Employer, Coworker, and Employee or Teacher of a Secondary or Postsecondary School to File a Petition Requesting the Court to Issue an Ex Parte Gun Violence Restraining Order.

Category: Special Bulletins
Date: Oct 21, 2019 10:26 AM

This Special Bulletin was written by Ariana Hernandes and Eileen O'Hare-Anderson.

On October 11, 2019, Governor Newsom signed AB 61. This bill expands existing law to allow an employer, co-worker, and employee or teacher of a secondary or postsecondary school to file a petition requesting a court to issue an ex parte gun violence restraining order. This type of restraining order prevents the subject of the petition from having in the subject’s custody, control, or possession a firearm or ammunition.

Existing law only authorizes immediate family members, roommates, or law enforcement to petition the court for an ex parte gun violence restraining order. AB 61 amends and adds Sections 18150, 18150, and 18190 of the Penal Code and will become effective September 1, 2020.

AB 61 expands the types of individuals that can file a gun violence restraining order, but some are subject to certain conditions:

  • An immediate family member of the subject of the petition;
  • An employer of the subject of the petition;
  • A coworker of the subject of the petition, if the coworker has had substantial and regular interactions with the subject for at least one year and has obtained approval of the employer;
  • An employee or teacher of a secondary or postsecondary school that the subject has attended in the last six months, if the employee or teacher has obtained approval from a school administrator or school administration staff member with a supervisorial role; and
  • A law enforcement officer.

AB 61 passed in conjunction with AB 12, a bill that Governor Newsom also signed on October 11, 2019. AB 61 and AB 12 together extend the length of a gun violence restraining order from one year to between one to five years.

The Impact of AB 61 on Public Entities

Public agencies should be aware of their ability as employers to file such petitions against employees who show signs of a significant danger of harm by firearm.  Public agencies may also approve a request from an employee who seeks to file a petition for a gun violence restraining order against one of his or her coworkers.

The Impact of AB 61 on Public Schools

Secondary and postsecondary schools should be aware of an employee’s or faculty member’s ability to file such petitions against students that have attended a school or community college in the six months preceding the petition. Secondary and postsecondary schools may file such petitions against employees who show signs of a significant danger of harm by firearm.  Secondary and postsecondary schools may also approve a request from an employee who seeks to file a petition for a gun violence restraining order against one of his or her coworkers.

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