Pros and Cons of Gun Control: California Lawmakers Introduce Gun Control Legislation
California lawmakers announced Tuesday that they plan to propose gun control legislation that places restraints on gun-violence in order to prevent future massacres much like what happened last week in Isla Vista, California.
Last Friday, 22-year-old college student Elliot Rodger went on a killing spree in the beachside college community where he shot three people dead after stabbing three others in his apartment.
According to Al Jazeera America, the bill allows family members or friends, who are concerned that a loved one may commit a violent act, to notify law enforcement. Police and authorities could investigate the threat and request a restraining order from a judge preventing the person from purchasing a firearm or keeping an already-owned gun.
California State Assemblymember Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) said in a release that friends and family are usually the first people to notice when a loved one is facing a crisis. She added that the laws currently on the books now prevent them from taking action before such an event occurs.
"When someone is in crisis, the people closest to them are often the first to spot the warning signs but almost nothing can now be done to get back their guns or prevent them from buy more," Skinner said.
Skinner and fellow Assemblymember Das Williams (D-Santa Barbara) introduced the bill Tuesday.
The law in place now does, however, allow therapists to report a client's intent to commit violence to the police, which they can then investigate, but a person can still purchase a firearm unless the person has been involuntarily committed to a mental health facility.
According to Al Jazeera, Rodger's mother notified local law enforcement at least two times before her son went on a killing rampage. She grew concerned in April when she found Rodger's YouTube video he had posted.
"Parents, like the mother who tried to intervene, deserve an effective tool they can act on to help prevent tragedies," Skinner said.
Police interviewed Rodger at his apartment, but he told them "it was all a big misunderstanding," Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said. He said Rodger had also said, "His relative and this other person had taken things the wrong way, and he really wasn't going to hurt anybody or himself."
California Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) announced similar legislation Thursday with a bill package that aims to address mental health care, according to California Healthline.
The bills would increase mental health training for law enforcement officers while also reducing recidivism of inmates found to have a mental illness.
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