Target: California Assembly Member Tom Ammiano, Chair of the Public Safety Committee
Goal: Prevent lethal firearm sales to individuals who are a danger to themselves or others
California has some of the strongest gun control measures of any state in the country. However, its current policies did not detect twenty-two-year-old Elliot Rodger’s long history of serious mental health issues, or prevent him from legally purchasing three semi-automatic weapons and killing six people in Santa Barbara last week.
Elliot Rodger’s disturbed mental state was no secret to his concerned family, the local police, or the multiple therapists he had seen from an early age. The videos he shared on social media websites, as well as his 140-page autobiography, paint a picture of a lonely and angry young man with grandiose violent visions and a loose grip on reality. His erratic behavior allegedly included an attempt to shove several women over a ledge at a college party.
Despite these red flags, Rodger was able to buy and own firearms. Last October, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill requiring therapists to disclose any threat made against an identifiable person to local law enforcement within 24 hours, but there is no way to ban mentally ill individuals from obtaining weapons unless they are involuntarily committed. Similarly, Rodger’s shocking videos in the weeks leading up to his rampage prompted his mother to ask local law enforcement to check up on him. The police officers, who were not trained to detect abnormal behavior in the mentally ill, found him to be courteous and cooperative, and did not find a reason to search his apartment.
In order to prevent potentially violent individuals from owning firearms, California should expand existing measures to require that mental health professionals to report any violent threats expressed by their clients, and immediately ban firearms sales to persons deemed to be a threat to themselves or others. New legislation should be put into place requiring that a mental health professional be present at police checkups on potentially mentally ill people.
Sign the petition below to demand that the California State Legislature put into place stricter laws that will prevent those who threaten violence from purchasing and using firearms.
Dear Assembly Member Ammiano,
As the recent tragedy in Santa Barbara shows, current California gun control measures do not do enough to prevent mentally ill individuals who threaten violence from purchasing and using legally obtained firearms. Further legislation is needed to stop the violence and death that have become all too common in this country.
Please change current California law to require that law enforcement officials investigate all violent threats reported by mental health professionals, not just those aimed at specific people. Demand that individuals who are deemed to be a threat to themselves or others be banned from purchasing any kind of firearm when such information arises in background checks. Lastly, make mandatory the presence of a mental health professional at all law enforcement checkups on individuals with a history of mental health problems.
The safety of California residents is dependent upon passing adequate laws that restrict the sale of firearms to only those individuals who will not use them to kill innocent people. Please do not give in to the demands of special interest groups; pass stricter gun control measures and save the lives of everyday people.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: RapidSquirrel via Pixabay.