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Governor Signs Tighter Gun Regulations Into Law in Wake of Isla Vista Rampage

Families of the victims gather to celebrate the newly approved gun restraining order and gun purchase database bills

Standing just yards away from where Elliot Rodger drove by on his May 23 murder spree throughout Isla Vista, lawmakers and family members of the rampage's victims gathered Wednesday in Anisq'Oyo' Park to celebrate the passage of two state laws they hope will help prevent similar tragedies in the future.

A day earlier, Gov. Jerry Brown signed two laws —​ Senate Bill 505 and Assembly Bill 1014 — which were developed by Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson and Assemblyman Das Williams, respectively, as a response to what happened in Isla Vista earlier this year.

SB 505 requires that local law enforcement agencies develop policies encouraging officers to conduct a search of the Department of Justice’s Automated Firearms System, California’s database of gun purchases, prior to conducting a “welfare check” on a person who is potentially a danger to themselves or others.

Law enforcement had been called to Rodger's apartment before the killings to check on his welfare, but did not enter the apartment.

"They did not look on the existing database to see if he was in possession of firearms," Jackson told reporters Wednesday.

Rodger killed six people and injured 13 before killing himself, according to authorities.

He stabbed three UCSB students to death in his apartment, including his two roommates, before going on a shooting spree through the streets of Isla Vista on the night of May 23.

Though it's impossible to know whether law enforcement would have had a legal basis to seize Rodger's guns had they known about them, the law is a start for law enforcement, Jackson said.

"It'll protect them, and it will protect the community," she said, adding that a larger national dialogue still needs to occur on gun violence as well as mental health.

Brown also signed AB 1014, authored by Williams and Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, that would allow for the temporary removal of firearms from individuals who are at-risk for committing acts of violence.

The law would allow family members to petition a judge if they believe the person is a danger to themselves or others in order to prevent them from having a gun.

"There are still people out there that can be saved," Williams said.

Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, who was present at Wednesday's press conference, said she has been acting at the federal level to promote the Pause for Safety Act, which is similar to the state bills approved Tuesday.

"Gun safety and the Second Amendment are not mutually exclusive," she said.

Richard Martinez, father of 20-year-old Christopher Martinez, who was shot and killed while inside the I.V. Deli on Pardall Road that night, said that if the laws had been in place in May, his son might still be alive.

"I don't want other families to suffer in the way that we have," he said. "It's worse than you can imagine to lose your child in this way."

Bob Weiss, who lost his 19-year-old daughter, Veronika, in the shooting, said that while nothing will bring his daughter or the other victims back, "this legislation does honor their memories by reducing gun violence in California."

Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley also spoke at the event, as well as several leaders from anti-gun violence groups.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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