Local law enforcement agencies have prevailed in their efforts to keep guns and ammunition out of the hands of a local man they and their attorneys argued presented a danger to himself and others.
In a resolution of the first case of its kind in Kern County, Kern County Superior Court judge Stephen Schuett on Thursday granted a petition to impose an emergency gun violence restraining order against local political activist, cannabis advocate and candidate for Fifth District supervisor David Abbasi.
The petition, requested by the Bakersfield Police Department and the Kern County Sheriff's Office through two of their officers, prohibits Abbasi from possessing or purchasing any firearms or ammunition for one year from the date of the ruling.
Abbasi's AR-15 assault-style rifle, a 12-gauge shotgun, three semi-automatic handguns, and hundreds of rounds of ammo have been in the possession of authorities since May, when the civil case began to take shape.
In a declaration filed last spring in support of the petition, one of the petitioners, Kern County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Damian Nord, said it is his opinion and the opinion of others in the sheriff's office, that "Abbasi is emotionally unstable and poses a threat to himself or others, and that threat is magnified if he is in possession of firearms and deadly weapons."
Attorney H.A. Sala, who represented the BPD's position in the petition, said Judge Schuett made the right decision.
"I really feel that our community is safer now that the judge has issued this ruling," Sala said Thursday. "This is really a victory for the community."
Abbasi has maintained throughout that he has never been a violent person. His advocacy of medical marijuana has made him enemies in high places, he has said. And his support for a measure that would impose term limits on county supervisors has done the same.
The actions by authorities have been politically motivated, he has argued.
In an emailed statement, Abbasi wrote:
"I had numerous Witnesses testify that I am not a threat, including some of their own Witnesses, and provided evidence to refute their statements. I had an expert witness, a doctor of psychology, give me a comprehensive psychological evaluation that included testing and review of a long list of items. She concluded I was a low-risk for violence and this GVRO was unnecessary. However, Judge Schuett discounted and falsely said my expert witness made her determination based on only a few interactions with me. In truth, she analyzed multiple documents, all the court records, personal history, and other things in addition, to make her conclusion. This is political retaliation for being a whistleblower. It was unnecessary as they've already managed to prevent me from possessing my firearms for a year, I have no History of Violence, and I made no direct or indirect threats."
According to Sala, the restriction on Abbasi's possession of firearms could be extended by up to five years if it can be shown in a year's time that Abbasi remains a danger.