One year ago, our community lost six innocent lives — 14 others were wounded. The community of Santa Barbara grieved. Many will forever remember this senseless act of violence.
On May 12, 2015 — another shooting in Isla Vista. The full story, yet unknown, has one similarity — the use of firearms adjacent to a college campus.
Gaps in the system enabled an emotionally disturbed person in Isla Vista to run amok a year ago. Elected representatives found a way to intervene in similar cases, and AB 1014, the Gun Violence Restraining Order, was passed and signed by Governor Brown. This law enables families or law enforcement to file a court order temporarily limiting a person with an elevated risk of dangerous behavior from owning or purchasing a firearm for one year.
Sadly, mass shootings continue to occur, shocking the nation each time. And, sadly, the shock dissipates, and the banality of 30,000 gun deaths per year remains a fact. Are we numb to the slaughter that leaves families in an unforgettable state of grief?
After each mass shooting, questions of mental health are raised in policy discussions, yet the majority of individuals with serious mental illnesses are not dangerous. California has a law regarding highly symptomatic individuals with severe mental illness that counties may choose to implement. If families were offered more guidance and counties enacted court-ordered counseling, such as Laura’s Law, more of the seriously mentally ill would get needed treatment.
The Coalition Against Gun Violence is celebrating its 20th anniversary on May 17, 2015, working to reduce gun violence and educate our community regarding the dangers of guns in the home. Gun violence is a public health epidemic and requires each of us to take a stand. Learn more about how you can make a difference. Let us know you are ready to take a stand to reduce gun violence. Get involved! Visit our website today: sbcoalition.org. Remember: Not one more.
Toni Wellen is chair of the Coalition Against Gun Violence.