This time the shooter is 22-year-old Elliot Rodger. Like clockwork, the cry goes up blaming the National Rifle Association and calling for tougher gun laws. But this time there’s a problem for believers in gun control. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence gave an “A-” to California's gun control laws, passed as they were by one of the most liberal state governments in the country.
On December 9, 2013 — barely six months ago — the Los Angeles Times was pleased to report the following, beginning with this headline:
California has toughest gun control laws in country, study finds
SACRAMENTO — California has the toughest gun control laws in the nation, receiving an A- grade in a state-by-state analysis by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
In the year after a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, eight states, including California, passed “major gun reforms,” said Amanda Wilcox, the legislation and policy chair for the California Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
California chapters of the Brady Campaign supported 18 bills sent to Gov. Jerry Brown.
Share“A record 11 bills were signed into law, including measures to keep guns out of dangerous hands and closing loopholes in California’s law prohibiting large capacity magazines,” Wilcox said. “The research shows that strong gun laws can keep people safe from gun violence. We know that California’s strong gun laws are saving lives.”Now comes young Mr. Rodger, who went on a shooting spree near the UC campus in Santa Barbara, killing seven, including himself, and wounding thirteen others. So what happened? Well, California’s strong gun laws most assuredly did not “keep people safe from gun violence.”
It’s understandable that the grief-stricken father of one of the victims would lash out, in this case at the NRA. But the hard fact here is that California — a state that is run from top to bottom by liberal Democrats — did exactly what gun control advocates asked. Not to put too fine a point on it, but the Elliot Rodger shooting illustrates exactly the point of gun law critics. It isn’t the gun, it’s the person. In fact, three of the victims were not shot — they were stabbed to death.
Elliot Rodger was mentally ill. His own family had alerted authorities that they were concerned about their son. The Washington Post reported it this way:
Rodger, who police say fatally shot himself after his killing spree Friday, had been receiving treatment for years from several psychologists and counselors. Last month, the 22-year-old wrote, his mother was so concerned about his well-being after seeing some of his videos on YouTube that she contacted mental-health officials, who dispatched sheriff’s deputies to check on him at his apartment in Isla Vista, an enclave near the University of California at Santa Barbara.(Read more.)
Had the officers sensed something awry during their April 30 visit, they might have searched Rodger’s home. They would have found his three semiautomatic handguns, dozens of rounds of ammunition and a draft of his 137-page memoir-manifesto. They would have read about his plot for a “Day of Retribution” — when, as Rodger wrote, he planned to “kill everyone in Isla Vista, to utterly destroy that wretched town.”
But the deputies did not look. They concluded that Rodger seemed “quiet and timid… polite and courteous,” Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
So they left and never returned.