Just before the two-year anniversary of the Sandy Hook shooting, Santa Barbara gun-control advocates will hold a vigil for the May 23 Isla Vista murder victims on Thursday night at 7 p.m. at Trinity Episcopal Church. The Coalition Against Gun Violence will host the event in conjunction with area politicians.
Multiple events across the nation will be held between Thursday and Sunday to memorialize those affected by gun violence, according to coalition chair Toni Wellen. She said, “The Santa Barbara community is joining a national vigil of mourning and remembrance to honor all those who have fallen victim to the ongoing epidemic of gun violence in America, and specifically to honor the victims and families of the Isla Vista and Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.” In the two years since Sandy Hook, tens of thousands of Americans have been victimized by gun violence, Wellen added.
Wellen has been active in advocating for increased gun control measures in the area, and local politicians — including Supervisor Doreen Farr, Assemblymember Das Williams, State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, Santa Barbara City Mayor Helene Schneider, and Congressmember Lois Capps — have supported the coalition’s efforts.
At the state level, Governor Jerry Brown signed two bills into law in September — both were sponsored by Jackson, and one was co-authored by Williams. The first will require law-enforcement agencies to check the state database for gun purchases before responding to “welfare checks.” The second will allow family members or police officers to petition the courts to temporarily remove a firearm from a person who is believed to be at risk of harming themselves or others.
Capps has introduced a number of bills addressing gun violence, including one to increase protections for those who are victims of domestic abuse, and another to supplement law enforcement agencies that adopt specific practices such as allowing family members to obtain court orders that would temporarily confiscate firearms from a person who poses a violent threat.