Long before a spring Southern California rampage that killed seven, including himself, 22-year-old Elliot Rodger was reported to authorities as a possible mental case.
But that didn't stop him from legally purchasing the guns he used during his attacks in Isla Vista, near UC Santa Barbara, last May.
Gun control advocates immediately revived efforts to try to prevent the mentally unstable from obtaining firearms. This time they were successful:
This week Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB 1014 by Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner of Berkeley. “Family members are often the first to spot the warning signs when someone is in crisis,” she said.
Eleven parents and family members of three of the Isla Vista victims, Veronika Weiss, Katie Cooper, and Christopher Ross Michaels-Martinez, sent a letter to the governor urging him to endorse the bill:
… The Isla Vista tragedy should never have happened: Despite obvious signs that the shooter was a danger to himself and others, there was no mechanism under the law to prevent him from obtaining guns or to disarm him.
The law will allow family members to ask a judge for a temporary restraining order that could remove guns from the possession of those deemed to be mentally unstable. Skinner's office explains:
… The bill will create a restraining order to allow the temporary removal of firearms from individuals who are at risk for committing acts of violence.
The legislation was opposed by the National Rifle Association, California Rifle and Pistol Association, Gun Owners of California and the Calguns Foundation, which argued it would infringe on the Second Amendment rights of legit firearm owners.
Given the constitutional implications, we wouldn't be surprised if a court challenge is mounted, though none had been announced.
In the meantime, the groups Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America celebrated Brown's approval.
Richard Martinez, the outspoken father of Isla Vista victim Michaels-Martinez who became an “outreach associate” for Everytown for Gun Safety, said:
Nothing we can do will bring back Christopher, but I’m confident this new law will help save lives and prevent other families from experiencing this same kind of tragedy. States around the country should be exploring this life-saving measure.
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