Gun Violence Restraining Orders

Gun Safety in Culver City Presentation - June 24, 2024(PPTX, 2MB)

Gun Violence Restraining Orders (GVRO), also known as “red flag laws,” allow law enforcement, family and household members, some co-workers, employers and teachers to work with a judge to temporarily remove access to firearms and ammunition from people at significant risk of self-harm or harming others. Research suggests that GVROs have been used successfully to prevent mass harm and they are particularly effective for suicide prevention. However, their use remains uncommon. A 2021 study from UC Davis Health found that although GVROs have been available in California since 2016, two-thirds of the Californians surveyed for the study had never heard of them.

It is the policy of the Culver City Police Department to petition for and serve gun violence restraining orders in compliance with state law. (See Culver City PD Policy Manual, Policy 346.) The Police Department’s Gun Violence Restraining Order Coordinator is responsible for developing, maintaining, and implementing processes and procedures to effect GVROs. The California Judicial Branch webpage ( has instructions on how to seek a GVRO using one of two methods. A person can go to court directly to ask a judge for a GVRO, using the forms on the Judicial Branch’s webpage or a person can call the police to report someone and based on that report the police can request the court grant a GVRO.

Domestic Violence Danger Assessments and/or Lethality Assessments

According to CityGRIP, “the presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation makes it five times more likely that a victim will be killed. Over half of female homicides for which circumstances were known were related to domestic violence. Domestic violence lethality assessments act to consolidate complex information about an abusive relationship into a single measure or score, with the goal of enabling survivors, law enforcement, and other agencies to take appropriate steps to reduce the risk of future violence or homicide. Research has shown that domestic violence victims tend to perceive a lower risk of violence or underestimate their risk of lethal violence. By using research-based assessment tools, the victim can recognize escalating violence and take protective action. Victims who connect with domestic violence services (e.g., social services and community advocates) reduce their risk of assault significantly. By identifying the most high-risk victims and connecting them to immediate support, agencies can enable victims to make decisions that promote their own future safety.” A quasi-experimental study showed that victims in Maryland’s Lethality Assessment Program (LAP) “engaged in more protective strategies and experienced significantly less frequency and severity of violence in the future compared to victims not using the program.” A 2018 California state bill required the State’s Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training domestic violence training course to include procedures and techniques for assessing lethality or signs of lethal violence in domestic violence situations, similar to the LAP.

When investigating domestic violence cases, current CCPD guidelines instruct officers to seize any firearms or other dangerous weapons in the home, if appropriate and legally permitted, for safekeeping or as evidence. Officers are also instructed to provide the victim with the department’s domestic violence information handout, even if the incident may not rise to the level of a crime, and alert the victim to any available victim advocates, shelters and community resources. Finally, CCPD guidelines instruct officers to seek or assist the victim in obtaining an emergency order if appropriate. (Culver City PD Policy Manual Policy 312.)

Safe Storage Ordinance

In 2019, Culver City approved a safe storage ordinance, codified in CCMC Section 13.03.200, requiring all firearms in a residence be kept in a locked container or disabled with a trigger lock. The ordinance also encourages the reporting of lost or stolen firearms. According to CCPD, enforcement of the safe storage ordinance would typically occur during investigations related to other crimes or reports of threats. If unsafe storage of a firearm is observed during another investigation, CCPD officers will cite using the California Penal Code section on gun storage. The State of California has very extensive requirements for storage, including storage around children and in vehicles. It is technically possible that someone could make a complaint about a violation of Culver City’s unsafe storage ordinance, at which point Culver City Police would respond, and if necessary, obtain a warrant, but in practice this has not happened.

Discharge of Firearms

CCMC section 13.03.220, “Shooting Requirements,” prohibits discharge of a firearm except in certain circumstances, such as in lawful defense of persons, in making or attempting to make lawful arrests, by a law enforcement officer in the performance of his or her duties, while filming, or while engaging in target practice at an appropriate facility. The California Penal Code also contains a similar prohibition against unlawful discharge of a weapon. CCPD officers cite violators using the Penal Code version of the law, when necessary. Typically, CCPD enforces a violation of this Penal Code section that has occurred during the commission of another crime. CCPD officers do get reports of unsafe discharge of weapons, most frequently around New Year’s Eve and the Fourth of July. In those cases, CCPD officers respond and investigate. However, it is typically difficult to identify and arrest someone for this violation, because by the time police arrive, the perpetrator is usually gone.

Suicide Prevention

In 2019, along with the safe storage ordinance, City Council adopted a provision codified in CCMC section 13.03.225, requiring all firearms retailers to post information about resources for suicide prevention. A City-designed poster was distributed to the City’s two firearms retailers after the Ordinance was adopted. The poster was updated in 2022 to include information about the new 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.

Firearms Retailer Requirements

In 2022, the City Council adopted an Ordinance, which added a new Chapter 11.19 to the Culver City Municipal Code. Chapter 11.19 of the Culver City Municipal Code has new permitting and security requirements for retail establishments selling firearms and ammunition, including:

  • Requires firearm and ammunition dealers to obtain a local permit to operate, which must be renewed annually
  • Requires specific site security and safe storage requirements
  • Requires liability insurance
  • Require dealers to post additional notices, including notices specifically warning about the risks and dangers associated with firearms
  • Prohibits unaccompanied minors from the premises
  • Prohibits from the premises persons known to be prohibited from possessing or purchasing firearms
  • Requires regular City inspections of dealer’s premises
  • Establishes record keeping and access standards such as requiring maintenance of inventory records and purchase records, and the ability of the City to inspect such records
  • Requires an annual permit fee based on cost recovery (including annual inspection, record keeping, etc.); and,
  • Specifies that permissible hours of operation are 9:00 AM to 10:00 PM daily

Gun Buyback Events

Culver City Police host annual Gun Buyback events to further the safe surrender of firearms. The events are shared on the Culver City Police Department website and social media platforms. For more information, please contact Community Engagement Manager Jennifer Atenza at (310) 253-6120 or


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1725 Main Street

Santa Monica, CA 90401

(310) 255-1840

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