Capitol Alert

Worried a co-worker is dangerous? You could ask the state to take their guns under new bill

He warned the FBI before the Florida school shooting. Now he's speaking out about guns.

Ben Bennight of D’Iberville contacted the FBI about a comment on one of his YouTube videos in September. That comment was made by someone with the same name as the man accused in the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Florida. Bennight, a st
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Ben Bennight of D’Iberville contacted the FBI about a comment on one of his YouTube videos in September. That comment was made by someone with the same name as the man accused in the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Florida. Bennight, a st

Following a school shooting in Florida this week, a California legislator will reintroduce his proposal to expand the state’s gun violence restraining order system.

The law currently allows family members and law enforcement to petition a court when they believe someone is an “immediate and present danger” to themselves or others. If a judge agrees, that person must temporarily give up possession of their firearms and is banned from buying new ones, generally for 21 days.

The new bill would add employers, co-workers, high school and college staff, and mental health workers to the list of individuals who can seek a restraining order.

Assemblyman Phil Ting, a San Francisco Democrat who is carrying the measure, said his bill could have helped teachers and administrators at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., where a former student on Wednesday killed 17 people, despite warnings to law enforcement.

“It just tells people in a workplace environment, if they see something, if they feel something, they can do something about it,” he said. “They don’t have to be helpless.”

Ting previously pursued a similar expansion two years ago, following the San Bernardino terrorist shooting, where a county Department of Public Health employee and his wife killed 14 colleagues at a Christmas party. Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed the bill, deeming it “premature” just six months after the original law took effect.

In 2016, the first year of the system, California courts issued 86 gun violence restraining orders. The largest number came from Los Angeles and Santa Barbara counties; six were issued in the Sacramento region.

Alexei Koseff: 916-321-5236, @akoseff

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