BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – David Abbasi, local businessman, coordinator, activist, and candidate for 5th District supervisor, has been ordered by a judge to turn in all of his guns. Abbasi will not be allowed to use or own firearms for one year, according to the ruling.
The ruling from Judge Stephen D. Schuett came after the Bakersfield Police Department filed a gun violence restraining order against Abbasi, arguing his behavior proves he is a danger to himself and others, and presents a significant risk of gun violence.
California “red flag” gun laws allow the police or family members to temporarily confiscate firearms from people who are deemed by a judge to be a danger to themselves or to others.
The judge agreed Abbasi “poses significant” dangers to himself and others, and therefore must not allowed to own or purchase firearms at this time.
Abbasi maintains the ruling is based on political retaliation.
Lawyers representing BPD and KCSO, including attorney H.A. Sala, filed gun violence restraining orders against Abbasi last year in hopes of convincing a judge that Abbasi’s guns should be taken away for at least one year because Abbasi’s behavior characterizes that of a mass shooter.
Assistant BPD Chief Evan Demestihas testified in August that Abbasi’s past behaviors in private and public — including at Kern Board of Supervisors meetings — was “concerning,” especially because Abbasi had access to firearms at the time.
Between 2018 and 2019, Abbasi legally purchased five firearms, including three handguns, one AR-15 rifle, and a shotgun, according to court documents obtained by KGET.
In late April 2019, Abbasi told KGET he acted in self defense when he brandished a loaded firearm at a teenage boy. The adolescent, according to Abbasi, attacked him as the teenager’s dog killed Abbasi’s dog. Police later arrested Abbasi because he did not have “the required authorization to carry the loaded firearm in public,” per documents.
Before the court hearings began last year, Abbasi held a protest in August in response to BPD and KCSO’s efforts to seize his guns.
“It’s political retaliation. They’re trying to ruin my reputation,” Abbasi said last year at the protest consisting of roughly a dozen demonstrators.
“I want people to know that I am an honest and ethical person who wants to make Bakersfield a better place and bring ethics to Kern County,” he continued.
During the case, Abbasi attempted to serve local officials with subpoenas to testify.
Judge Stephen D. Schuett rejected Abbasi’s subpoena of Bakersfield Mayor Karen Goh and former Assistant City Attorney Richard Iger, arguing Abbasi did not provide enough notice in his subpoena. Moreover, Abbasi acknowledged he attempted to subpoena 5th District Supervisor Leticia Perez on several occasions, but was unsuccessful. He said he was left with no other choice but to serve her at her personal residence, but the ordeal ended up with him running away from the property in fear, he said.
“When I got there, her husband ran outside the door chasing me in his boxers, and telling me to get the hell out of there,” Abbasi said. Judge Schuett denied Perez’s subpoena because Abbasi did not serve Perez with $275 of compensation for missed work.
KGET reached out to Perez’s office for comment during the case, but did not hear back.
Chief Deputy Damian Nord also testified last year. He discussed a statement Abbasi stated publicly at the Board of Supervisors meeting in April, in which Abbasi said, “If I was a true threat, there would have been a body count already.” Nord said he thought such a statement was “not normal.”
However, Cecilia Latu, a friend of Abbasi with Central Valley Cannabis, testified that she believed Abbasi is not a threat and would “never” commit a murder.
“We’re very pleased our community now is safer with the judge issuing that order,” said attorney H.A. Sala. Sala added he supports the second amendment, but argued society must not allow people who pose threats to themselves or others to posses guns. “That is the entire purpose of these red flag laws; it’s not to take guns from responsible gun owners. It’s not the purpose,” he said.
Abbasi shared a different sentiment.
“It’s completely absurd that we had a waist of taxpayer money for something this frivolous and unfounded…This is unfortunately political retaliation.”