Just days after a 22-year-old killed six students and himself near the University of California, Santa Barbara, some Californa lawmakers are championing legislation that would permit law enforcement officials and private individuals to seek a restraining order from a judge that would keep people with a potential propensity for violence from buying or owning a gun, reports the New York Times. The process would be similar to the one currently used for restraining orders in cases of domestic violence.
The legislation is being introduced in response to the attack by Elliot Rodger, who was able to buy three guns and go on a rampage despite warnings from his family and mental health professionals that he was unstable and possibly dangerous. It is unclear if the measures contained in the bills could have prevented his actions if they had been law. Mass shootings have not translated into stricter gun control laws nationally, but they have prompted changes on the state level limiting access to guns in some places and loosening existing laws in others to give people more leeway to arm themselves against criminals. In addition to expected opposition from the National Rifle Association and other gun rights advocates to the latest California proposal, it is likely to face challenges from those concerned about limiting civil liberties of those dealing with mental illness.