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California Has Enough Laws

In the case of Elliot Rodger, all they had to do was enforce them.

by
Clayton E. Cramer

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May 27, 2014 - 4:18 pm
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Yet another mass murder by a person with a history of mental illness problems – and again, the first solution is “more gun control.”   Unlike some of these other tragedies, where the requirement for “imminent danger” prevented police from taking a mentally ill person into custody before the killings, California actually has sufficient laws on the subject.  But that requires the police to actually use the laws that they have.

In California, a number of medical professionals, as well as any police officer, can take a person into custody for a 72 hour mental health evaluation, under Welfare & Institutions Code § 5150.  If the hospital evaluating that person decides that he is indeed mentally ill, he can be held for an additional fourteen days for “intensive treatment” under § 5250.  It turns out that police had contacted Elliot Rodger because his family had seen his social media posts about “suicide and killing people.”  Why didn’t the police take him into custody under § 5150?  I have seen, firsthand, California police using § 5150 to take people into custody for suicide threats.  Yet they did not do so in this case.

Would it have helped?  Ask Elliott Rodger.  His manifesto says directly: “I would have been thrown in jail, denied of the chance to exact revenge on my enemies. I can’t imagine a hell darker than that.”  He might have received the treatment that he needed to recognize the insanity of what he was planning. But even if he came out of the mental hospital as crazy as he went in, this would still have been a win for public safety.  Why?

If a person has been held under either 5150 or 5250, they may not possess a firearm or ammunition for five years.  California has required all handgun purchases or transfers to go through the Dealer’s Record of Sale process since Elliott Rodger was in diapers.  There is no exemption for gun shows, or ads in the newspaper.  California requires all new residents to register their firearms.

The police thus have access to registration records for all handguns, at least for people as young as Elliot Rodger, who by all accounts legally purchased his handguns.  Had they taken him into custody under § 5150, they would have had access to a list of all his registered handguns, and would have been authorized to search Rodger’s residence for and take into custody those handguns.  After leaving the mental hospital, Rodger might still have stabbed to death his three roommates, but he would have at least been greatly slowed him down from murdering anyone with a handgun.  (Although, I can’t picture the absence of a gun preventing Rodger from slashing to death blondes in Isla Vista.)

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All Comments   (36)
All Comments   (36)
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Clayton is right in the majority of this editorial, but he's wrong on one point. California DOES have Private Party sales, but they all have to go through an FFL, to facilitate the transaction.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
Excellent analysis, particularly regarding the effects of a 5150. I had been unaware of the disarmament effects of that legal action (and there is some room in that for serious abuse by medical professionals and law enforcement).

What has also not been mentioned is that since California has no "shall-issue" CCW laws, Isla Vista was effectively a "gun-free zone", in which even a ineffectual little dweeb like this guy, with a 9mm, would face little effective resistance. When men with guns arrived on the scene, he quickly ended his miserable life.

Rodger's "manifesto" is a fascinating window into the (public) mind of a seriously disturbed man-child, if it is read with curiosity about what he wanted others to be informed about, as important to his existence and well-being. He perceives his life-problems as beginning with puberty, while other parental and peer observers remarked his severe "shyness" much earlier. Sadly, he was very unsuccessful at even being a child, and an even greater failure at becoming an adult. When this happens, tragedy is never more than an instant away.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Why stop with California. Try the Federal Government and ALL Other States that follow in its wake.

Try a "Settled Law" enacted by members of a Legislature under the Whip of THEIR ELECTED Representative Executives Harry Reid in the Senate and Nancy Pelosi in the House .

With the brazen "WE HAVE to pass it TO KNOW WHAT'S IN IT".

Even over vociferous objections of masses of citizens, dismsissed as no account "astro- turf" and repeatedly otherwise insulted. Not only by the "Honourable" Ms. Pelosi but the other "Public Servants" who before during and after the fact followed in her tracks.

A Law of MORE THAN 60 TIMES AS MANY PAGES as the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution AND much of the commentary explaining the what and the why of that Constitution PUT TOGETHER.

That SUPREME LAW of the land that BOTH H. Reid, N, Pelosi, and ALL others who aided and abetted the PPACA entry into the Legal Codex of the USA swear / affirm to UPHOLD AND DEFEND.

That SUPREME Law, that FUNDAMENTAL Law. Written in plain English. No need for intermediary priests, aka lawyers, to explain its meanings. AND its limits on government "of, by and for the People". LIMITS ON GOVERNMENT. NOT The People. Try Amendment IX.

More than 2000 pages. The champions of which admit A "Fundamental Transformation of the nation". BUT DO NOT ADMIT EXTRA - Legal. Extra Constitutional.

Having failed to apply the PROCEDURAL REQUIREMENTS of DIRECT application to and consent from WE THE PEOPLE, via not only the Legislature of the Federal but also of EACH STATE Legislature.

THAT'S THE LAW. The Constitutional requirement for AMENDMENT for CHANGE of RIGHTS of citizens PROTECTED WITH THAT LAW. "Representatives of the Peopl@e in Legislature, Judiciary and Executive are ADMINISTRATORS and Guardians of THAT LAW. Nothng more.

A "Law" of more than 2000 pages which EVEN the Legislators in the House and Senate of the Congress who enacted it DID NOT KNOW what is in it.

Can ANY of them NOW Tell us, the citizens WHAT IS in all its provisions contained in that law.

WHAT ABROGATIONS of legally protected Rights of American citizens putatively GUARDED - PROTECTED by members of the Legislature, Judiciary AND Executive? Each and All members of which swear/affrim on freelly taken oath to Uphold and Defend, i.e. "Protect and Serve"?
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Who in his right mind sits down and writes a 140 page screed? This guy sounds absolutely creepy. Is it any wonder that he couldn't get a date? I don't think we'll ever find out why he was crazy but being a spoiled rich brat who was given everything he ever wanted, except for one thing, couldn't have helped. Maybe his dad never spent the time to talk to him about women, about how to ask for a date and about caring for someone and not just looking and not caring and throwing aside when finished. He thought he somehow was a "victim" and blamed everyone else for his victimhood.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Did you read Anders Breivik's 1000+ page map for a new Europe? I gave up after 300 pages, but it was actually very well written, and Rodger's screed was also pretty decently written for someone who mostly didn't attend college. If only the literacy would rub off on most of my students, without the craziness.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Something is not clear: does a 3 day hold prevent someone from owning a firearm for 5 years? If so, this is a serious threat to gun rights, since that hold doesn't require a medical opinion. Or, is it the extended hold after a 5150?
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yes. This is a very serious flaw in W&I 5150. Theoretically, if you are released and the hospital decides that there is nothing wrong with you, it is supposed to be easy to get your gun rights back. Sometimes it is. Sometimes it costs thousands of dollars in legal fees. The burden of proof in on you.

Why does anyone still live in California?
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Why does anyone still live in California?"

If this doesn't provoke simultaneous laughing and crying, the reader simply has no heart. The tragedy of paradisal California turning itself into a loony-bin is just awesome (in the worse sense of the word) to behold.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
Seriously...he was 22. When you are 22 you do a bunch of really stupid stuff like make idiotic videos and put them on YouTube. They showed up and questioned him. He was polite and didn't set off their whack job detectors.

This is just ugly and horrible. This kid was an evil little narcissistic sociopath (a diagnosis no longer PC enough from the shrinks who took his daddy's money and let this happen).

Certainly we have gone way too far away from civil commitment when someone obviously insane can stand in the street and harass pedestrians, but this low life was hidden under a civilized veneer and nice clothes. Any system intrusive enough to detect him 100% of the time would constitute a police state.

That said, now that this has happened, it would be wise to allow the police to obtain a warrant to search the residence of such people in the future. I suspect if they had been able to do so without instituting a psych hold first, they might have acted and found sufficient evidence to make them suspicious enough to lock him down for an evaluation, and confiscated his guns.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
"There is an internal investigation underway in the Santa Barbara’s Sheriff’s Department right now"

You betcha there's an investigation..trying to figure out...how its all the NRA's fault...

Its your typical Government CYA Scramble, where all of USare going to have to pay for THEIR incompetence
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Whatever level of bureaucrat infested government you're talking about, there are more than enough laws.

However, when talking about CA laws on the books re mentally unstable individuals, the VA in DC or anything else, when it comes to enforcing and applying those laws, "the system" (i.e., the lazy bureaucrats "working" inside the system) fails.

Exceptions are when agencies are agenda driven by their lord and master, which, these days, describes the EPA and the IRS, probably the FCC and the FEC, definitely the department of (in)justice, and so on..
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Actually, you're wrong. CA needs at least two more laws:

1. Shall issue CCW with elimination of gun free zones
2. Limit police to the same weapons and magazine capacities available to the general public. Let the police unions make the case to the legislature as to why these are stupid (and I would say unsafe) laws.

Police have less of an argument to carry standard capacity magazines than the general public.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
It would certainly increase the risk for mass murderers. Of 104 active shooter events 2000-2012, 3 were ended by the victims shooting the killer.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yes! The only feasible defense against a distributed threat is a distributed defense.

It should be "most of them" ended by a potential victim shooting the killer, not a mere 3/104.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
There's an awful lot of "a posteriori" crap going around about this kid. Yes, he was sick. Yes, he was evil. But we know these things with the certainty we do because of what he did, not the videos he produced, which, quite frankly, are not unique. Do you really want to live under a regime where "the authorities" can deprive you of **all** your freedom on the strength of a YouTube video or a Facebook post, without you having committed an incarceration-worthy act?

No one ever promised us perfect safety. Not only is the notion incompatible with freedom, it's objectively impossible to attain. But that appears to be what some folks, including some on the Right, are demanding.

Hey, I've got an idea. Let's ask that Nakoula Bassely Nakoula fellow. I'm sure he'll have an opinion on this.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Credible threats of violence are incarceration-worthy acts. See the legal definition of assault.

Nakoula did not make any threats; he was locked up for violating his probation. Should he have been? I don't think so, but probation is essentially, "We own you in exchange for not locking you up. Break even one rule, and away you go."
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Just to extend your remarks: I have no problem with Nakoula being re-incarcerated for having violated the terms of his probation (which he quite evidently did).

What I DO have problems with is the media-frenzy night-time arrest that was used, rather than having his parole officer call him during business hours and say, "Can you come in tomorrow afternoon at 2pm for a meeting?" That IS how it's normally done for non-violent offenders. I have an extended family member with multiple DUI's and that IS IS IS how it's done. In fact, last time when he violated his terms of bail (not exactly probation but quite similar) by showing up for a parole/bail officer appointment and admitted he had been drinking while out on bail, they revoked his bail *but asked him to come back the next day to be re-incarcerated*.

This is WA state, fwiw, not CA, but still illustrative I think.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
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