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Hullabaloo


Friday, May 30, 2014

 
Maybe we should focus more on who has guns than on who has drugs

by David Atkins

It turns out that not only did the police not actually watch the Isla Vista shooter's misogynistic video rant, they didn't bother to search the database to see if he had bought guns:

With the toughest gun-control regulations in the country, California has a unique, centralized database of gun purchases that law enforcement can easily search. It offers precious intelligence about a suspect or other people officers may encounter when responding to a call.

But this rare advantage wasn’t enough to help authorities head off the May 23 rampage in Santa Barbara that claimed six victims.

Before a half-dozen sheriff’s deputies knocked on Elliot Rodger’s door last month in response to concerns raised by his mother about his well-being, they could have checked the database and discovered he had bought three 9mm semiautomatic handguns. Several law enforcement officials and legal experts on gun policy said this might have given deputies greater insight into Rodger’s intentions and his capability for doing harm.

The deputies did not check the database. They left his apartment after finding him to be “shy, timid, polite and well-spoken,” in the words of Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown. The deputies saw no evidence that Rodger was an immediate threat to others or to himself.

“I cringed when I learned they didn’t run for guns,” said Emeryville Police Chief Ken James, who is chairman of the California Police Chiefs Association’s firearms committee.
I understand that police have a difficult job with lots of paperwork and not enough time. But maybe that's because they focus on the wrong things.

Police make more arrests for drug violations--mostly possession--than for any other crime. That is a wildly misplaced priority.

I'm much more worried about the disturbed guy with a gun than about the dude next door with a bowl. I'm pretty most most people would agree with that. Law enforcement might want to take note.


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