Editorial: Area legislators step up after Isla Vista tragedy
The Isla Vista rampage happened four months ago, but legislators from the Central Coast have not let the issue fade away.
On Sept. 30, Gov. Jerry Brown signed two new laws that, when they take effect early next year, will strengthen public protection from violent episodes like the Elliot Rodger killing spree that claimed seven lives, seriously injured 13 people and rocked UC Santa Barbara’s student community.
AB 1014, co-sponsored by Assemblymember Das Williams, a Santa Barbara Democrat, and Berkeley colleague Nancy Skinner, allows family members to petition a judge to request that firearms be temporarily removed from a loved one who poses a serious threat.
The Gun Violence Restraining Order legislation seeks to close a loophole where there are warning signs of violence; it passed with some objection from Tea Party members who feared abuse of the statute.
Under Senate Bill 505, sponsored by Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, also a Democrat from Santa Barbara, local law enforcement agencies will develop policies to encourage officers to perform an check on the state’s automated firearms system prior to conducting a welfare check on someone who is potentially a danger to themselves or others.
As Rodger’s mental condition spiraled downward last spring, family members contacted the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office and asked it to perform a welfare check on him. Deputies knocked on the door and were met, according to their records, by a subdued and polite Rodger. The visit occurred just three weeks before Rodger’s rampage.
The sheriff’s office has confirmed that it did not seek information about any potential weapons. Rodger himself wrote in his manifesto that had the police asked about the guns then in his possession, his plans for a murder spree would have been disrupted or totally derailed.
“As a result of the action the governor has taken today, we are able to say that the rampage in Isla Vista produced not just terrible tragedy but also positive changes for our state and our community,” Jackson said in a statement.