Proposed Law Could Limit Gun Purchases

The plan would create temporary restrictions on gun purchases if a family obtains an injunction based on a person's mental state

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Speaking in the aftermath of the Isla Vista rampage, Sen. Barbara Boxer delivered an impassioned plea for increased gun control and mental health laws on Capitol Hill on Monday as she outlined measures intended to prevent similar tragedies from happening again. Kathy Vara reports for the NBC4 News at 6 on Monday, June 2, 2014. (Published Monday, Jun 2, 2014)

    In response to the deadly massacre in Isla Vista, Sen. Barbara Boxer said she plans to propose new gun control legislation that would give families a way to prevent relatives from obtaining guns if their mental health poses a threat.

    Boxer’s plan includes a provision that allows a family to go to court to obtain a temporary restraining order to prevent someone from buying a gun if there is immediate cause to be concerned.

    The "Pause For Safety Act" would also allow police to temporarily confiscate any firearms the person may already own.

    “It is haunting that the family of the gunman who committed this massacre in Isla Vista was desperate to stop a tragedy, and yet they lacked the tools to do so,” Boxer said in a statement. “My bill would give families and associates who fear someone close to them could commit violence new tools to help prevent these tragedies.”

    On May 23, 22-year-old Elliot Rodger drove through the streets of the small college town near Santa Barbara and shot at bystanders. Three people were shot and killed before Rodger died apparently from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

    Prior to the shooting spree, Rodger also stabbed three men to death in his apartment. His family had been concerned with his mental state in recent weeks, along with a number of "disturbing" videos he posted on Facebook, and asked law enforcement to check in on him.

    Deputies who checked on Rodger said he was polite and did not appear to be a threat.

    "No one is safe in America anymore. Not in their schools, not in a movie theater, not in their workplace, not their home, and not on a beautiful college campus overlooking the Pacific Ocean," Boxer said. "We have a function here, not to allow someone who's unstable or violent, not to allow that person to get a weapon."

    Similar legislation was introduced in the California Legislature last week, co-sponsored by Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Santa Barbara, and Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara.

    Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Monday he supports the proposed legislation, and said a person’s mental health history should play a part in the steps to obtaining a gun.

    “I certainly support it. And it doesn’t take away anybody’s right to own a gun, it just says we’re going to make sure the guns don’t wind up in the wrong hands,” he said.

    Robert Juarez, owner of RR & Associates gun store in Burbank, said he supports new legislation and feels states should be required to enter mental health records into a database that gun store owners would be able to access.

    "If a person is on medication to alter their train of thought or been under therapy for 12 or 15 years, you need to put that in a record," Juarez said. "So that way when an officer does get one of those calls...they're going to run it and say 'Oh, this person is being treated.'"

    Toni Guinyard and Kathy Vara contributed to this story.