Burbank Lawmaker: Keep Guns Away From Mentally Ill Americans
LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A San Fernando Valley lawmaker called on Congress Tuesday to keep guns out of the hands of emotionally disturbed Americans in the aftermath of the Isla Vista shootings.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) issued a statement on Twitter in response to the shooting and stabbing spree by a 22-year-old Santa Barbara Community College student who killed seven people and injured 13 others last weekend: “With each of these #gun tragedies, fabric [sic] of our country is torn a bit more. Are we ready to say enough? Will our Congress listen if we do?”
A complete version of Schiff’s statement asked, “What will it take to get the Congress moving on responsible gun safety laws? What will it take to keep guns out of the hands of seriously mentally ill people? How many more Sandy Hooks, Auroras, Stocktons, Columbines, Virginia Techs, and Isla Vistas must we have? How many more cities and schools will have names that become synonymous with gun violence? Where does it end?
“With each of these tragedies, the fabric of our country is torn a bit more. Are we ready to say enough is enough? Will our Congress listen if we do?”
Schiff, a former federal prosecutor, issued similar calls for universal background checks on potential gun buyers and other proposed measures following a shooting rampage at an Aurora, Colo., movie theater in July 2012 and the shootings in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, in December later that year.
Several attempts by Congress to expand background checks following the Sandy Hook killings ultimately failed.
UCLA Law Professor Adam Winkler, an expert on gun laws and the author of “Gunfight: The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms in America”, told KNX 1070’s Bob Brill it isn’t possible to prohibit someone from owning a gun if they seek mental health counseling.
“If it were [possible], you’d pretty much disarm the entire population,” said Winkler. “Everyone goes to counseling at some point in their life, most people do.
“Certainly just because you have some problems doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to defend yourself with a firearm, given the Supreme Court’s ruling that it is a Constitutional right to have a gun for your personal protection,” he added.
California has been one of the leading states in the nation to limit the types of weapons and magazines that can be bought, including the introduction of a ten-round limit for magazines, according to Winkler.