A California county judge refused this week to use the state’s “red flag” law to confiscate the firearms of a man accused of resisting/obstructing an officer in a 2018 incident involving an altercation with his son.
Yolo County Superior Court Judge David W. Reed made the decision despite a “strenuous request” from deputy district attorney Alex Kian, according to the Davis Vanguard newspaper.
Officers allegedly were “concerned for their safety” due to the presence of Trent Stonerock’s loaded firearms as they attempted to subdue Stonerock during the course of the 2018 incident. Kian asked that Stonerock be forced to surrender his firearms for a year in order to communicate to Stonerock that he’s getting off with a misdemeanor and “as an incentive to comply.”
Kian also accused Stonerock of failing to “demonstrate proper gun ownership” by frequently leaving his guns loaded.
Judge Reed disagreed. Telling Kian that the court shouldn’t have “anything to do with the guns,” he argued that the court shouldn’t confiscate Stonerock’s firearms even if he were convicted for his charges.
Stonerock’s defense attorney, Hendrick Crowell, also pointed out that his client has been to private therapy sessions and hasn’t been in any further trouble three years after his initial arrest.
“He’s [Stonerock] is a lawful gun owner. [The incident] was at his home… he was close to his guns, [and] there was a struggle over the police trying to secure the guns and the court granted the diversion request, and I think it’s more appropriate that he just do some community service,” Cromwell said, according to the Vanguard.
Judge Reed granted Stonerock’s misdemeanor diversion for a year and allowed him to keep his firearms. Stonerock will have to complete 40 hours of community service and is scheduled for a review hearing in July of 2022.
Reed was appointed by former Republican California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2009. He was reelected in 2013 and 2019, and he handles criminal cases for Yolo County. Prior to serving on the bench, he practiced law at his own private firm for 23 years.
Judge Reed’s decision is an unfortunately rare outcome in the Golden State. California enacted its red flag law in 2016, and in May of this year, the Los Angeles Times reported that judges had issued a record-breaking 1,285 “gun-violence restraining orders” in 2020. Those orders removed firearms from 1,110 people, according to the outlet.