Sam Cassidy was armed with three semi-automatic handguns when he killed nine of his coworkers at the rail yard in downtown Santa Cruz in May. Cassidy purchased the firearms legally, as did the murderers responsible for the mass shootings in Indianapolis, Boulder, and Atlanta earlier this year.
In each instance, we later learned that coworkers and family members had concerns about the stability of these men.
Not everyone is capable of safely using guns. We must do more to protect the public from gun owners in crisis.
“Red Flag” laws in California allow relatives, co-workers and others to ask a court to temporarily remove firearms from individuals who pose a risk of violence to themselves or others. Following a hearing in open court, a judge can issue a Gun Violence Restraining Order and temporarily prohibit the individual from possessing or purchasing firearms or ammunition.
Authorities in San Diego have used red flag laws to remove nearly 1,000 firearms from dangerous gun owners since 2017. Los Angeles, disappointingly, lags far behind.
If you are worried that someone with a gun presents a danger of self-harm or harm to others, go to court or call the LA Police Department (1-877-ASK-LAPD, non-emergency line). Explain your concerns and request a Gun Violence Restraining Order.
“Ghost guns” present another threat to public safety. Less than two years ago, Saugus High School in Santa Clarita experienced a shooting involving a ghost gun, which are guns assembled from a kit and do not have a serial number.
Due to legal loopholes, ghost guns are untraceable and do not require background checks. Ghost guns are becoming more common and endangering Los Angeles residents.
Last year more than 800 ghost guns were confiscated in Los Angeles, and ghost guns accounted for one-third of crime guns recovered by the LAPD. This summer alone an average of 200 people were killed and 472 injured by guns each weekend in the United States.
Los Angeles must do more to combat this threat. Issuing more concealed gun permits is not the answer. Armed vigilantes will not make us safer.
The most effective solution is to get guns out of the hands of owners in crisis and prohibit the sale of ghost guns.
Red flag laws are underutilized in Los Angeles. As City Attorney, I will expand awareness and the use of red flag laws by hosting training sessions for law enforcement, medical and mental health professionals, schools and workplaces. Our office will evaluate cases for Gun Violence Restraining Orders and work with the community to safely remove firearms from individuals who pose a danger to themselves or others. I will also draft ordinances to close loopholes that allow for the proliferation of ghost guns.
Shootings have become too common. Inaction is inexcusable. I will tackle this threat with urgency.