Jun 02 2014

In the Wake of Isla Vista Massacre, A Look at the Debate Over Gun Rights Vs. Rights of Mentally Ill

Existing legislation to make it harder for people with mental illness to be able to purchase guns is being closely considered by California lawmakers. The massacre over a week ago of 6 people by a 22-year old man in Isla Vista has spurred a bill that has been likened to obtaining a restraining order in domestic violence cases.

Elliot Rodger, who informed the online world of his decision to “slaughter” women because of a life of sexual rejection, was able to legally purchase guns even though he had been receiving some form of mental health counseling from a very young age. Rodger’s mother even alerted authorities after he began posting disturbing videos online but to no avail.

Now, Michael Martinez – the father of one of the victims – made an impassioned plea for gun control and embraced the rallying cry of “Not One More.” While it is possible that the Isla Vista massacre may make California’s already relatively strict gun laws stronger, gun control legislation is notoriously hard to get passed. And, Governor Jerry Brown, whose signature is needed for any law to pass, is a proud gun owner himself.

GUEST: Adam Winkler is a Professor of Law at the UCLA School of Law. He specializes in constitutional law. His 2011 book was called Gunfight: The Battle over the Right to Bear Arms in America

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