On Friday night in Isla Vista, California, seven people were killed and thirteen others were wounded in a rampage that targeted a USCB sorority. The alleged gunman has been identified as 22-year-old Elliot Rodger, who died after suffering a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Besides a knife, the weapons used were a Glock 34 and two Sig Sauers.
Rodger was receiving psychiatric treatment in the months leading up to the incident.
In an op-ed for The Los Angeles Times, Dr. Renée Binder describes how California law surpasses the federal standard in preventing gun violence, but says that more needs to be done. She recommends the implementation of a system for gun violence restraining orders:
“A Gun Violence Restraining Order would allow a judge to temporarily stop an individual from buying or possessing a firearm. The judge would examine the situation and consider all the factors suggesting that the individual was a risk to himself and others. If granted by the judge, the restraining order would have to be reassessed after a short period to restore the individual’s firearm rights if he or she is no longer at serious risk of harming himself, herself or others.”
The state already temporarily bars individuals from having a gun after an involuntary hospitalization for psychiatric treatment. People convicted of a violent misdemeanor in California are also prohibited from having a gun for five to ten years, and anyone subject to a temporary domestic violence restraining order is prohibited for as long as the order is in place.
Others have weighed in as well.
Mike Lupica bemoans the lack of federal action on the gun issue. Mass shootings still produce the same sadness, he says, but no longer shock. Elliot Rodger bought his semiautomatic weapons legally, and it was easy for him.
Mother Jones reports that “since 1982 in this country, there have been more than 70 mass shootings, across 30 states, and that nearly three dozen have occurred since 2006. They occur in malls and movie theaters and at Army bases and the Washington Navy Yard and Sikh temples and elementary schools and college campuses. The numbers say that so many of these guns used on innocent people, dead because they went to work or went to school, were purchased legally.”
In a piece for The Washington Post, Jaime Fuller reminds us that since the Columbine shootings in 1999, only one major federal gun bill has been passed in the aftermath of a mass killing. That occurred after the Virginia Tech shootings in 2007. Politicians across the country continue to sponsor gun legislation, but only a fraction of the proposals have been enacted, and that continues to be the trend.
“Even places where one might think gun legislation would meet success have quashed gun bills lately. In California last year, Gov. Jerry Brown signed 11 new pieces of gun legislation, but vetoed seven — including one that would have made it harder for mentally ill individuals to obtain guns,” writes Fuller.
We cannot afford to stagnate again. It’s time for real action on this issue.