Mass killings prompt lawmakers to propose new firearms bill

Patrick McGreevy, Melanie Mason (Los Angeles Times) | May 28, 2014

Shocked by the weekend’s mass killings near UC Santa Barbara, state lawmakers on Tuesday proposed a new way to temporarily prevent potentially violent individuals from buying or owning guns.

Legislators also advanced dozens of unrelated bills, including one that would largely repeal a voter-approved ban on bilingual education in California, a proposed requirement that condoms be worn by actors in pornographic films and a bill that would allow lawmakers to be suspended without pay for misconduct.

The new firearms bill would create a “gun violence restraining order,” using the same process employed for restraining orders in cases of domestic violence.

If notified by a subject’s family or friends that someone could harm himself or others, law enforcement officers would be able to petition a judge to grant a restraining order that could prohibit possession or purchase of a gun.

Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) said last weekend’s Isla Vista rampage illustrated gaps in the state’s gun and mental health laws. The family of Elliot Rodger, the shooter, had raised concerns with law enforcement about his mental state, and Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputies visited Rodger at his apartment in April but took no action against him.

“Here we had a situation where a mother was aware that her son was a danger to himself and others. She tried to intervene,” Skinner said.

Sam Paredes, executive director of the Gun Owners of California, called the proposal (AB 1014) offered by multiple lawmakers including Skinner, a “knee-jerk reaction.”

California already has a system to prevent mentally ill people from obtaining weapons, he noted: an involuntary psychiatric detention known as a “5150.”

Read more at: http://www.latimes.com/local/la-me-pol-isla-vista-20140528-story.html

Photo credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

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