California Firearms Law and Mental Illness

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


California provides numerous pathways by which people with mental illness can qualify for a state-level firearm prohibition. The state's involuntary detention for psychiatric treatment, or "5150" (CA W&I Code 5150) process, is often cited as one potential mechanism for reducing violence by dangerous people, though its use is limited to people whose dangerousness is due to a mental illness. Additionally, California has taken legislative steps to prohibit firearm ownership among other people who have an increased risk of violence, regardless of whether or not mental illness is a factor. This article compares the California firearm ownership disqualification system for mental illness with the federal system and those of other states, examines the strengths and weaknesses of this system, and reviews alternatives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)246-256
Number of pages11
JournalBehavioral Sciences and the Law
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Law


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