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Bill Would Expand Gun Violence Restraining Order Rules

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) - Four days after the deadly school shooting in Texas, a gun violence bill in California is moving forward. This legislation would expand the list of people who can request that guns be taken away from a dangerous individual.

"We talk about all the time taking guns out of the hands of the wrong people," said Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), the bill's sponsor. "That certain people shouldn't have guns. This is exactly what that does."

The bill, AB 2888, was originally proposed in response to the school shooting in Parkland, Florida. The idea is to stop someone with a gun before they take a life and prevent another parent from losing a child.

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"The families where their children were killed, I just ache for them," said Amanda Wilcox, legislative and policy chair for the Brady Foundation for Gun Violence.

Her 19-year-old daughter Laura Wilcox was gunned down on January 10, 2001, in a county mental health office in Nevada City.

"She was killed by a person who did have [a] severe mental illness but because he had never been hospitalized for mental illness and had never committed a crime, he was not prohibited from owning firearms," Wilcox explained.

Seventeen years later, she's pushing for updates to California's "red flag" law.

"I just want to keep other people safe," she said.

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Current law allows family members, roommates, and law enforcement to request a Gun Violence Restraining Order. If granted by the court, that person will have their guns temporarily taken away.

"These are for folks who are considered dangerous, may have mental health issues," Ting said. "Really should not be owning or possessing firearms."

Ting's bill would expand existing law to include school personnel, employers, and co-workers.

"You probably would want an individual who came into contact with that person, knew that person relatively well," he said. "Obviously you'd have to demonstrate how you know that there are weapons."

The state legislature passed the existing law back in 2014 after the deadly shooting spree in Isla Vista.

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But the American Civil Liberties Union is concerned the law goes too far saying "measures that restrict categories of purchasers – such as…people with mental disabilities from owning or buying a gun. These sorts of provisions too often are not evidence-based, reinforce negative stereotypes, and raise significant equal protection, due process, and privacy issues."

Ting says there have been 200 restraining orders issued since the first law went into effect and doesn't believe it's been misused. The bill passed in the Assembly on Monday and now goes on to the Senate.

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