In the wake of the murders committed by Elliott Rodgers in Isla Vista, CA a familiar chorus rose in the media and social media: Firearms are “easily accessible”. While the obstacles to firearm ownership vary by state, “easy access” is not a hallmark of California’s gun regulations. The following outlines the process to firearm acquisition in the Golden State: Elliott Rodgers planned his attack for years. He systematically acquired his handguns with the sole purpose of committing his crimes. He did not decide to embark on his killing spree with firearms he’d owned prior to the decision. (It also cannot be overlooked that he killed as many people with knives, and intended to run down and kill as many as he could with his vehicle).
It remains to be seen where the existing system failed in this case. Rodgers had seen some type of mental health professional since he was 8 years old and some have called for his psychiatrist to be held accountable for not initiating the appropriate procedures do prevent him from carrying out his plans. Others have pointed to law enforcement “dropping the ball” by not reviewing the social media posts in which Rodgers clearly and plainly stated his intentions.
What remains unexplained is how, the proposed California AB 1014 (or its Federal equivalent proposed by Barbara Boxer) would prevent such a rampage as Rodgers’ more effectively than existing laws and do so while protecting against abuses and violations of very fundamental civil rights.