One year after the Newtown, Ct., shootings, California nears its own awful anniversary: It’ll be 25 years ago next month since five children died and 29 more were wounded at Stockton’s Cleveland Elementary, inspiring the state’s first-in-the-nation assault-weapons law, says the San Jose Mercury News. The nation is still arguing about whether to address the gun issue or the mental-illness issue. Sam Paredes of Gun Owners of California, said, “You never let a tragedy go to waste … so they pulled off the shelf all of the gun-control things they always wanted to pass. We tried to tell them that you need to go after the people with mental issues, because all of these other things only affect law-abiding citizens. And our words fell upon deaf ears.”
State Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg — a longtime champion of mental health treatment who shepherded a raft of gun-control bills this year — agreed that the issue should be part of the discussion, but said gun-rights advocates use it “rather cynically” as a smoke screen. “The truth is we need both: more robust mental health services nationally, in addition to reasonable measures to reduce gun violence,” said Steinberg “It’s not either-or.” Citing the New York Times, the Mercury News says this year, 39 new state laws tightened gun controls, while 70 loosened them.