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Legal Information: California

Restraining Orders

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Updated: 
June 16, 2021

How will the judge make a decision?

To obtain a temporary emergency gun violence restraining order, ex parte gun violence restraining order, or gun violence restraining order issued after notice and a hearing, the petitioner needs to show that:

  1. the respondent poses a significant danger of causing personal injury to him/herself or another person by having in his/her custody or control, owning, purchasing, possessing, or receiving a firearm or ammunition; and
  2. a gun violence restraining order is necessary to prevent personal injury to the respondent, you, or another person because less restrictive methods either have been tried and did not work or are inappropriate for the circumstances.1

In deciding whether to grant a gun violence restraining order, the judge must consider the following evidence:

  • a recent threat of violence, or act of violence by the respondent, either self-inflicted or to others that occurred within the past six months;
  • a violation of a current domestic violence emergency protective order or an emergency stalking protective order;
  • a recent violation of an unexpired domestic violence protective order, a civil harassment order, a protection order prohibiting intimidation of witnesses, or a restraining order to prevent elder or dependent adult abuse;
  • a conviction for a crime that prohibits purchase and possession of firearms under California law; and
  • a pattern of violent acts or threats within the past 12 months by the respondent directed toward himself/herself or to others.2

The judge may also consider any other relevant evidence that indicates an increased risk for violence, such as:

  • the respondent’s unlawful and reckless use, display, or flaunting (brandishing) of a firearm;
  • the respondent’s history of use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against another person;
  • the respondent’s prior arrest for a felony offense;
  • the respondent’s history of a non-recent violation of a domestic violence emergency protective order or stalking emergency protective order;
  • the respondent’s history of a non-recent violation of a domestic violence protective order, a civil harassment order, a protection order declaring a minor child a dependent child, a protection order prohibiting intimidation of witnesses, or a restraining order to prevent elder or dependent adult abuse;
  • police reports and conviction records of the respondent’s recent criminal offenses that involve controlled substances or alcohol;
  • documentary evidence of ongoing abuse of controlled substances or alcohol; and
  • evidence of the respondent recently gaining access to firearms, ammunition, or other deadly weapons.3

1 Cal. Penal Code §§ 18125(a); 18150(b); 18175(b)
2 Cal. Penal Code § 18155(b)(1)
3 Cal. Penal Code § 18155(b)(2)