Family members could ask a judge to order firearms removed from people likely to commit gun violence, under legislation advancing through the California legislature.
It would allow law enforcement and family members of people they suspect to be dangerous to petition the courts for a restraining order barring possession of firearms for 21 days.
"The measure was introduced after police near Santa Barbara said they were unable to confiscate weapons from a man who later went on a rampage and killed six people," Reuters reports. That "despite concern from his family that he was in poor mental health and might become violent."
The bill passed the state Senate 23-8. "It passed the Assembly once, but now goes back for a vote on amendments before heading to Democratic Governor Jerry Brown," Reuters adds.
"Nothing can bring back the life of my son, but there are common-sense solutions that can help ensure other loved ones aren't killed by preventable gun violence," said Richard Martinez, whose son, Christopher Ross Michaels-Martinez, was killed by 22-year-old Elliott Rodger in the rampage in Isla Vista in May.
The legislation was acted on just three months after the disturbed man went on that rampage, which killed six UC Santa Barbara students and wounded 13 other people. The killer had purchased firearms even though his family and others worried he might be a danger to himself and others.
State Senate Republicans lined up against the bill. Some said it's a poor precedent to have the government seize weapons - ownership of which is constitutionally protected = based on what an individual might do.
And state Sen. Jim Nielsen, who represents a rural area in far Northern California, said the answer instead is to end the policy of letting many people out of prison and jail early, the Los Angeles Times reports.
"There are some who will use every tragedy to take guns away from law-abiding citizens" Nielsen told his colleagues. "Let's not release into our community without treatment thousands of mentally ill individuals."