SACRAMENTO (KCBS) – Berkeley Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner is co-authoring a bill that would let authorities confiscate guns from someone who threatens to commit violence, like the gunman in the massacre near UC Santa Barbara.
The bill from Skinner, Das Williams (D-Santa Barbara), and state Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) would create a “gun violence restraining order,” so that someone like the mother of Isla Vista killer Elliot Rodger, can get a judge to take his weapons away before he uses them.
“She had gone to the police. She knew that her son was a potential danger to himself and others,” Skinner said. “And yet her tools to try to get the guns out of his possession, or to get some type of intervention, were very limited.”
Under the proposed legislation, family members, friends and intimate partners would have the ability to alert law enforcement if they believe a person poses a threat to themselves or others. Law enforcement would then have the ability to investigate and ask a judge to grant an order prohibiting the purchase or possession of firearms.
Skinner said it’s modeled after the domestic violence restraining order law.
There’s also a proposal for statewide protocols for officers, who check on mentally troubled people. Sheriff’s deputies had interviewed Rodger, but didn’t search his apartment. State Attorney General Kamala Harris is still reviewing these ideas, but said it’s long past time to coordinate the mental health response with the law enforcement one.
“We have got to, as a society, deal with this issue of mental health,” Harris said. “We have to stop treating it as a stigma and something that makes someone weird or an outcast, and instead, understand that it is like any other illness. It can be treated, but we must discuss it and we must take it seriously.”
Rodger killed six people in Isla Vista, before taking his own life on May 23.