Shannon Frattaroli, a gun violence prevention researcher at Johns Hopkins University, a coauthor of a new paper published in Behavioral Sciences & the Law which advocates for the implementation of a new option for families concerned about a loved one who may become a danger: gun violence restraining orders.
“In September 2014, California became the first state to establish a GVRO system. When the law comes into effect in 2016, immediate family members and domestic partners will be able to petition courts to have guns removed from those they fear may act in violence, and prohibit them from purchasing firearms for the length of the restraining order. Law enforcement officers also will be able to request GVROs. Initial restraining orders will last up to 21 days, but can be extended to one year,” writes National Journal‘s Brian Resnick.
“We were all surprised that the policy response [to the Sandy Hook shooting] was ‘okay, what we have to do is keep guns away from people with mental illness,’” Frattaroli said. “Mental illness alone is a poor predictor of who is going to be violent. A better predictor of future violent behavior? Past violent behavior. ‘It’s dangerousness, not diagnosis,’ she said, and familiy members are in the best position to identify warning signs.”