Thousands have gathered at the University of Santa Barbara, California to mourn six students killed in a weekend rampage. At the same time, California lawmakers have proposed new gun control legislation.
Police say 22-year-old Elliot Rodger, the son of “Hunger Games” assistant director Peter Rodger, stabbed his two roommates and another young man to death in his Isla Vista apartment. He then shot and killed three people near the campus before turning the gun on himself.
Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s officials have acknowledged that deputies visited Rodger at his apartment weeks before the shooting at the request of his mother, who had been disturbed by videos he posted online. However, they left after Rodger assured them he meant no harm.
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Two California Assembly members have proposed legislation that would create a gun violence restraining order. This could be sought from a judge by law enforcement at the request of family members and friends.
“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 buying more,” said Democratic Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner of Berkeley, who sponsored the measure with Das Williams, D-Santa Barbara.
Currently, therapists can tell authorities when they fear a client is at risk of committing a violent act. However, there is no prohibition on firearms ownership unless someone has been involuntarily committed for mental health treatment.
Another proposal involves establishing statewide protocols for law enforcement officers who are called to check on mentally troubled people.
Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg suggested that authorities should be required as part of such welfare visits to check whether a person has purchased weapons instead of just talking to them.
Additional steps could include searching the individual’s surroundings and talking to roommates, neighbors and relatives, he said.
State senators spent 35 minutes at the state Capitol eulogizing the students killed in the weekend violence and expressing frustration that such rampages continue despite previous efforts to end the problem.
Timeline of School Shootings Around the World
- March 13, 1996 – Dunblane Primary School in Dunblane, Scotland: 16 children and 1 teacher killed, 12 wounded, gunman killed himself
- April 20, 1999 – Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado: 12 students and 1 teacher killed, both gunmen killed themselves
- April 16, 2007 – Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia: 32 people killed, gunman killed himself
- March 13, 2009 – Albertville-Realschule in Winnenden, Germany: 15 people killed (11 of them women and girls), gunman killed himself
- Dec 14, 2012 – Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut: 26 people (20 of them children), 2 people killed outside school (gunman killed his mother and himself)
- May 23, 2014- University of California, Santa Barbara in Isla Vista, California: 6 people killed (3 people stabbed; 3 people shot and killed; gunman killed himself)
Report compiled with information from Reuters and The Associated Press.