This is the inaugural year for Berkeley Law’s first student group focused on using legal tools to reduce and prevent gun violence in the U.S.
In 2014, California enacted a law that allows family and household members or law enforcement officers to petition a court directly for an order temporarily restricting a person’s access to guns. This law, known as a Gun Violence Restraining Order (GVRO), is a vital public safety tool that allows the people most likely to notice when loved ones or community members become a danger to take concrete steps to disarm them. Research has shown that these laws are particularly effective at preventing gun suicides, which make up about two-thirds of all gun deaths in the U.S. Creating public awareness about GVROs and developing systems that allow laypeople to make use of it is critical to the effectiveness of the law.
Students in GVPP will support the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence in developing guides, fact-sheets, and other resources to educate individuals and organizations on what California’s GVRO law is and how it can be used to keep communities safe. Students will tailor implementation materials to different audiences, including law enforcement agencies, court self-help centers, and community organizations that provide legal and social services to at-risk individuals and families. With GVPP’s help, the Giffords Law Center will use the resources developed to create an implementation model for other states that have enacted similar “red flag” laws. Students who are interested in direct services will have the opportunity to present the materials developed through GVPP to the targeted audiences around the Bay Area. GVPP participants will develop critical skills in legal research and writing, and gain invaluable experience in making a statute understandable and usable by lay people. Because GVPP is a new SLP, there will be room for participants to contribute to shaping its direction long-term and make the work their own.
Time Commitment: We plan to offer two tracks: one for students looking to complete 25 pro bono hours in one semester, and another for students looking to spread 25 pro bono hours out across two semesters.
Supervision: Students will receive training from and provide pro bono legal services under the supervision of attorneys at the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence in San Francisco, California.
For more information, please contact the student leaders at