Bill would have cops keep tabs on gun-purchase database

Published: Wednesday, Jun. 11, 2014 - 11:13 pm

The state senator who represents the Isla Vista community that was ravaged by a mass murder last month has introduced legislation to require law enforcement to check California’s gun-purchase database before investigating someone who may be in danger of committing violence.

Senate Bill 505, by Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, would require officers to search the state Department of Justice’s Automated Firearms System database in such cases.

Police checked on Elliot Rodger, the 22-year-old authorities say killed six people in Isla Vista before killing himself, after his parents alerted them of his violent video rants just a couple weeks before the shooting. The officers did not find evidence that Rodger posed a threat to himself or others.

Jackson’s Senate Bill 580 would provide funding to help enforce California’s existing gun laws: $5 million in grants for local law enforcement agencies to take guns from people who are not allowed to own them; $10 million over three years to upgrade the Department of Justice’s data systems used to register gun ownership and conduct background checks; and $50,000 for training police in using the gun-purchasing database.

“Both of these bills are about making better use of the tools and the laws at hand to help prevent gun violence,” Jackson’s said in a statement.

Craig De Luz, lobbyist for the California Association of Federal Firearms Licensees, said SB 505 mandates something law enforcement can already do. SB 580, he said, would unwisely divert fees paid by gun owners that is meant to be used to promote gun safety.

– Laurel Rosenhall

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