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Gaines wants gun ownership “loophole” closed

By: Journal Staff
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AUBURN CA - State Sen. Ted Gaines moved Tuesday to close what he says is a dangerous loophole in existing California law that allows the mentally ill to obtain guns.

In the wake of the tragic events at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., Gaines, R-Rocklin, announced legislative plans to introduce a bill that he stated would keep dangerous firearms out of the hands of the mentally ill.

“It’s time to take a hard look at gun violence in America and California,” Gaines said. “As a father of six children and a legislator, I am sickened by the recent events in Connecticut.”

Gaines said in a statement that while he believes there is no single solution to completely preventing similar crimes, the planned bill would be an important step in protecting children and others at risk from the mentally ill.

Current California law prevents anyone who has been judged by a court order to be a danger to others due to a mental disorder or mental illness – or has been judged a mentally disordered sex offender – from owning or possessing a firearm.

“However, upon completion of treatment or at a later date, the person can petition the court to issue a certificate saying they are approved to possess a firearm,” Gaines said.

The bill would amend state law to permanently prohibit gun ownership for those people. There would be no petitioning of the court for future firearm possession, Gaines said.

“Although California has the toughest gun laws in the nation, there is a loophole that must be closed for those determined by a court to be dangerously mentally ill,” Gaines said. “I hope everyone with a mental illness gets the treatment and rehabilitation they need to live a healthy and productive life. But if the court has ruled you are a danger to others, that’s it. That is your one strike. We are not going to pave the way for you to own a firearm ever again.”