It can certainly be abused, but there is a legitimate compelling interest in confiscating guns from felons and those who are judged incompetent to possess firearms. The issue is how to prevent the abuse, and that requires that the law be specific in its enumeration of the circumstances under which a person can have their property confiscated, and that the law have oversight. This would be a great task for a ballot initiative:
Originally Posted by Rockntractor
The Constitution of the State of California shall be amended to include the following:
The State of California shall not confiscate any legal firearm except upon the establishment of proof, in a court of law, that the possesser of said firearm has been determined to be ineligible to own a firearm under the laws of the State of California, having been convicted of a felony or deemed incompetent by a court of law. For the purpose of declaring a person incompetent to own a firearm, there shall exist a rebuttable presumption affecting the burden of proof that:
(a) All persons have the capacity to make decisions and to be responsible for their acts or decisions.
(b) A mental or physical disorder does not automatically preclude ownership of firearms.
(c) A judicial determination that a person is totally without understanding, or is of unsound mind, or suffers from one or more mental deficits so substantial that, under the circumstances, the person should be deemed to lack the legal capacity to continue to have unsupervised access to firearms, shall be based on evidence of a deficit in one or more of the person's mental functions rather than on a diagnosis of a person's mental or physical disorder.
Firearms in the possession of persons persons under indictment or who are subject to evaluation for mental competency may be temporarily impounded, and shall be held only until the State has met the burden of proof for confiscation. Weapons shall be returned to the defendant upon acquittal or the failure of the state to meet the burden of proof for declaration of mental incompetence. Destruction of impounded weapons by the State prior to determination of the legal status of the owner is prohibited under all circumstances. Destruction of permanently confiscated firearms of significant historical value is prohibited, unless the firearm has been used in the commission of a fatal crime.
The language regarding mental competence comes from the California Probate Code Section 810, and applies to those persons deemed incapable of caring for themselves or of dictating changes to their wills. Section 811 provides a more detailed definition of mental incompetence:
811. (a) A determination that a person is of unsound mind or lacks the capacity to make a decision or do a certain act, including, but not limited to, the incapacity to contract, to make a conveyance, to marry, to make medical decisions, to execute wills, or to execute trusts, shall be supported by evidence of a deficit in at least one of the following mental functions, subject to subdivision (b), and evidence of a correlation between the deficit or deficits and the decision or acts in question:
(1) Alertness and attention, including, but not limited to, the following:
(A) Level of arousal or consciousness.
(B) Orientation to time, place, person, and situation.
(C) Ability to attend and concentrate.
(2) Information processing, including, but not limited to, the following:
(A) Short- and long-term memory, including immediate recall.
(B) Ability to understand or communicate with others, either verbally or otherwise.
(C) Recognition of familiar objects and familiar persons.
(D) Ability to understand and appreciate quantities.
(E) Ability to reason using abstract concepts.
(F) Ability to plan, organize, and carry out actions in one's own rational self-interest.
(G) Ability to reason logically.
(3) Thought processes. Deficits in these functions may be demonstrated by the presence of the following:
(A) Severely disorganized thinking.
(D) Uncontrollable, repetitive, or intrusive thoughts.
(4) Ability to modulate mood and affect. Deficits in this ability may be demonstrated by the presence of a pervasive and persistent or recurrent state of euphoria, anger, anxiety, fear, panic, depression, hopelessness or despair, helplessness, apathy or indifference, that is inappropriate in degree to the individual's circumstances.
(b) A deficit in the mental functions listed above may be considered only if the deficit, by itself or in combination with one or more other mental function deficits, significantly impairs the person's ability to understand and appreciate the consequences of his or her actions with regard to the type of act or decision in question.
(c) In determining whether a person suffers from a deficit in mental function so substantial that the person lacks the capacity to do a certain act, the court may take into consideration the frequency, severity, and duration of periods of impairment.
(d) The mere diagnosis of a mental or physical disorder shall not be sufficient in and of itself to support a determination that a person is of unsound mind or lacks the capacity to do a certain act.
(e) This part applies only to the evidence that is presented to, and the findings that are made by, a court determining the capacity of a person to do a certain act or make a decision, including, but not limited to, making medical decisions. Nothing in this part shall affect the decisionmaking proces set forth in Section 1418.8 of the Health and Safety Code, nor increase or decrease the burdens of documentation on, or potential liability of, health care providers who, outside the judicial context, determine the capacity of patients to make a medical decision.
That burden of proof must be on the state, but once it is met, the person deemed incompetent would clearly be someone who is incapable of meeting the responsibilities of gun ownership.