When a gun owner becomes unstable and likely to harm himself and others, it is usually obvious to family, friends and coworkers. Remember Elliot Rodger who killed six people and injured fourteen others near the campus of University of California, Santa Barbara less than two years ago? After looking at her son’s YouTube page, Rodger’s mother called 911, alerted the boy’s father and frantically drove to Santa Barbara to stop the murders.
Others have also posted their homicidal intentions on social media only to act upon them because no one intervened. And most mass shooters like the Aurora, Navy Yard and Virginia Tech murderers were under the care of therapists who also clearly saw the imminent murders but did nothing.
After Elliot Rodger’s 2014 murders, California passed a gun order of protection law in which family members and friends could request a restraining order from a judge before gun violence. “When someone is in crisis, the people closest to them are often the first to spot the warning signs, but almost nothing can now be done to get back their guns or prevent them from buying more,” said Democratic Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner of Berkeley in supporting the legislation.
NGVAC has personal experience with the conundrum. A few years ago, we contacted two police departments about a possible imminent gun violence situation and were told by both that we had to wait until “something” happened. “There would be no legal justification for us, at the state level, to step in and take this person’s property,” said an email from Glendale Mayor Weiers responding to a girlfriend’s charge that her boyfriend was a convicted domestic abuser yet owned guns. Property?
Now legislation that would create a Lethal Violence Order of Protection is advancing in the Illinois legislature. It would permit family members concerned about loved ones hurting themselves or others to petition the courts to remove firearms for a limited amount of time.
Needless to say, the gun lobby is throwing a hissy fit. It would rather see a few homicides and suicides than someone wrongly denied his lethal weapon because of a “fight with a spouse [or] tiff with a boyfriend.” Of course the male dominated gun lobby wants to ignore the fact that it is just these angry armed husbands and boyfriends who are a leading cause of women’s deaths.
The gun lobby not only defends the “gun rights” of people under orders of protection and suspected domestic abusers, it defends the “gun rights” of convicted felons and people who have been hospitalized for mental illness.
Maybe they are protecting their own. The wife of the NRA’s New York City field representative Richard D’Alauro, Maribeth testified on Capitol Hill that she endured years of bullying and abuse from the NRA honcho. D’Alauro was charged with assault, harassment and endangering the welfare of a child. He possessed 39 guns at the time of his arrest.