January 15, 2023
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Governor signs gun bills introduced after Isla Vista mass shooting


Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday signed into law a swath of new gun-control bills introduced in the wake of a mass shooting near UC Santa Barbara.

The governor signed legislation introduced in the State Senate by Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara that requires police to check gun databases when doing welfare checks.

Jackson’s Senate Bill 505 was introduced after a May 23 mass shooting in Isla Vista, the college community next to the UCSB campus, that left six people and the gunman dead.

Jackson’s bill requires law-enforcement agencies to develop policies encouraging officers to conduct a search of the Department of Justice’s Automated Firearms System, California’s database of gun purchases, before conducting a “welfare check” on a person who is potentially a danger to themselves or others, she said.

Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputies had conducted a welfare check on Elliot Rodger, the 19-year-old gunman in Isla Vista, three weeks before he went on a killing spree that left six victims dead and seriously injured 13.

At a press conference after the shootings, Sheriff Bill Brown said deputies had checked on Rodger at the request of his mother, who was concerned for the young man’s safety. Deputies found Rodger to be shy but otherwise seemingly harmless, Brown said. They did not search his apartment or check gun databases.

“Although law enforcement may not have had the legal authority to seize Elliott Rodger’s three guns had they known about them, a gun database search could have provided additional information that might have helped them better assess the danger that Rodger posed to himself and others,” Jackson said in a press release. “Law enforcement could potentially have asked Rodger what he intended to do with the guns, asked to see the guns, or asked him to voluntarily surrender the guns.”

Rodger, who produced rambling video and written manifestos complaining of isolation and rejection by women, is believed to have stabbed three male roommates in his apartment to death before driving through Isla Vista spraying gunfire.

More than four months after the Isla Vista tragedy, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office has not revealed many details surrounding the event, citing an ongoing investigation.

Brown also signed into law Assembly Bill 1014, legislation co-authored by Jackson and introduced by Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Santa Barbara, and Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley. The bill allows for so-called gun restraining orders that allow family members of someone who appears to be experiencing mental instability to request a temporary court order barring that person from buying or accessing firearms and requiring them to give up any guns already in their possession.

Brown rejected a bill that would have required homemade guns, including those made with a 3-D printer, from being registered. He also signed legislation requiring toy guns to be made in bright colors.