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Gun Violence Restraining Orders Help Prevent Tragedies

California has one of the lowest firearm mortality rates in the nation, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This is largely because California has enacted some of the strongest and most effective gun safety laws in the country. A decade ago, as an Assembly Member, our State Senator Nancy Skinner authored the first of these “red flag” laws designed to keep firearms out of the hands of those threatening violence to themselves or others.

Alameda Post - a gavel

Alameda Post - Alameda Mayor Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft presents 4th of July Awards, July 21, 2022
Mayor Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft presents the Fourth of July Awards at Jean Sweeney Open Space on July 21, 2022. Photo Adam Gillitt.

Last year, Senator Skinner and Alameda City Attorney Yibin Shen co-hosted a workshop on “red flag” laws known as gun violence restraining orders (GVROs), and last month, City Attorney Shen hosted a second workshop for law enforcement personnel, District Attorneys, and City Attorneys throughout the Bay Area.

GVROs can be valuable resources for the public in circumstances that involve domestic violence, suicide risk (including youth suicide), or self-harm. Alameda Police Chief Nishant Joshi explains that GVROs are civil court orders intended to prevent a person who is believed to be a danger to themselves or others from possessing a firearm. Law enforcement, family members, employers, co-workers, and school employees can request a GVRO by completing a form citing specific facts which a judge reviews. If the judge believes the facts support the request, they will approve a GVRO which prevents the person at risk from possessing a firearm.

Deputy City Attorney Doug McManaway, who specializes in GVROs, offers these general tips for the public:

  • Call 911 if the situation is an emergency (i.e., someone is in immediate danger of harming themselves or others, or is actively engaged in violence against themselves or others). GVROs are useful tools, but members of the public should not spend time completing a form and filing it with the court if they are in imminent danger.
  • Only certain individuals—law enforcement, immediate family members, employers, co-workers, employees of a school the person of concern attends—can go to court to request a GVRO. If you do not fall within one of those categories, but you believe someone is a danger to themselves or others if they possess a firearm, contact the Alameda Police Department by calling 911, the APD non-emergency line (510-337-8340), or the City Attorney’s office (510-747-4750) to request that law enforcement pursue a GVRO.
  • The online Gun Violence Restraining Orders in California self-help guide compiled by the California Court system provides useful information to assist members of the public who are considering whether to seek a GVRO.

If you are feeling depressed, or are contemplating suicide, or concerned that a loved one may consider suicide, please call or text 988 to be connected to crisis counselors who will provide free and confidential support 24/7.

Alameda Post - a ballot box
The ballot box at the Bay Farm Island Library/Park. Photo

March 5 is Election Day

Despite some news media predictions that the March Primary will be a low-turnout election, Alamedans take democracy seriously and vote in large numbers in every election. This one is no exception.

All registered voters in Alameda County will have received a Vote By Mail ballot by now. The return envelope requires no postage, but must be signed, dated, and include your address, postmarked by Election Day, March 5, and received by the Alameda County Registrar of Voters by March 12.

You may also return your ballot to one of three official Drop Boxes in the City of Alameda (include the information noted above on the envelope):

  • Alameda City Hall, 2263 Santa Clara Ave.
  • College of Alameda, 555 Ralph Appezzato Memorial Parkway.
  • Bay Farm Island Library, 3221 Mecartney Rd.

Or at any official drop box in Alameda County 24/7 until 8 p.m. on Election Day.

If you prefer to vote in person, six Accessible Voting Locations in the City of Alameda will be open Saturday through Monday, March 2-4, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Election Day, Tuesday, March 5, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.:

  • South Shore Center: 2130 Otis Drive (near Office Max).
  • College of Alameda: 555 Ralph Appezzato Memorial Parkway.
  • 1st Congregational Church of Alameda: 1912 Central Ave.
  • Bohol Circle Incorporated: 1815 Union St.
  • California Historical Radio Society: 2152 Central Ave.
  • Independence Plaza: 703 Atlantic Ave. (open for voting starting February 24).

Be sure to vote, then wear your “I voted!” sticker proudly.

Calling all foodies

Alameda Post - Alameda Restaurant Week logoAlameda Restaurant Week is March 1-10. Let’s support local restaurants that are still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. Visit the Alameda Restaurant Week website  to find multi-course menus offered at set prices in restaurants across the island. Try your favorite locations, plus a new one or two! Post a photo of your amazing meals on Instagram and tag #arw2024, or upload a photo using the form on the website to be entered in a raffle to win Alameda restaurant gift cards. Bon Appétit!

Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft is the Mayor of the City of Alameda. Reach her at [email protected].

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All opinions expressed on this page are the author's alone and do not reflect those of the Alameda Post, nor does our organization endorse any views the author may present. Our objective as an independent news source is to fully reflect our community's varied opinions without giving preference to a particular viewpoint.

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