Monday, May 26, 2014

Elliot Rodger Was Able to Legally Buy Guns, Despite Mental Illness — #UCSB

Here's the outstanding front-page story at today's Los Angeles Times, "In Isla Vista, red flags came too late."

The piece has a lengthy discussion on the Rodger's gun-buying, and notes:
One night last summer, he went to a party and tried to shove women off a ledge where they had been sitting. Several men intervened and pushed him off the ledge instead, and he injured his ankle.

He was treated at a clinic for his injuries, and police showed up to interview him. In theory, this was an opening for formal, official intervention....

Around the same time, Rodger hatched his plan for what he called "slaughter" and began buying semiautomatic handguns. Again, here was an opportunity for official scrutiny — he was making the purchases legally, abiding by California's background check system and waiting periods.

But Rodger sailed through, because despite his troubles, it does not appear that he triggered any warnings — he had no criminal history; he had never explicitly threatened anyone or been deemed a risk to himself or others; he had never been ordered to submit to involuntary mental health treatment; he had no history of addiction.

Even a diagnosis of serious mental illness, in itself, would not have prevented Rodger from buying a gun under California law, said Lindsay Nichols, staff attorney with the advocacy group Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

If Rodger had issued a threat of violence against specific, identifiable victims to a psychiatrist, the psychiatrist would have been required to report it to law enforcement, and Rodger could have been banned from owning guns for five years. That did not happen, and there is no evidence that Rodger made such a threat — in fact, his writings suggest that he had worked studiously to hide his violent plan.

Adam Winkler, a UCLA law professor and expert on gun laws, said that in general, a diagnosis of mental illness doesn't affect a person's right to own a gun in California unless it has been adjudicated by a court or the person has voluntarily checked into a mental facility.

"It's just not a surprise that someone with mental health problems would still be able to get a gun," Winkler said.  Chuck Michel, one of the most prominent gun-rights attorneys in California, said there was nothing in Rodger's background that would have prevented him from being able to buy a gun.

"California's got pretty much every gun control law the gun control lobby wants, and it didn't stop this," he said.
And here's the second piece, from which the above is cribbed, "Isla Vista attacker's struggles didn't prevent gun buying."

Plus, at yesterday's far-left, gun-grabbing New York Times, "Even in a State With Restrictive Laws, Gunman Amassed Weapons and Ammunition."

So, even though California's the gun-grabber's heaven, the state's heavy restrictions failed to prevent the massacre. But it's not common sense or gun safety these people are about, it's about power, control and disarmament. Recall the Bloomberg-backed attack on Deborah Feyerick by Moms Demand Action:

More at Bearing Arms, "Isla Vista Massacre Proves That Strict Gun Control Laws Are Failures."