Letters to the Editor: He wanted a gun before allegedly threatening UCLA. The law stopped him. Thank God

A nearly empty UCLA campus
The UCLA campus is nearly empty on Feb. 1, when in-person classes were canceled after threats were made allegedly by an ex-philosophy instructor.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: As a onetime UCLA student, I can well imagine the angst that students and others felt at the sense of being kept in the dark about a former philosophy instructor who was allegedly making credible threats as he spiraled into what seemed like mental illness.

What I want to highlight and celebrate is how our gun violence prevention system worked successfully.

A tragedy was prevented because this individual had been denied a firearm when he tried to purchase one in Colorado last year. This happened because he’d been red flagged in accordance with a California law, and a “gun violence restraining order” prohibited his purchase in Colorado.


Our gun violence laws functioned to protect the public, and law enforcement intervened before a disaster could occur. Buying a gun needs to be harder across the United States.

Amy Luster, Santa Monica


To the editor: What is it going to take to revise the laws on committing mentally ill people who may be a danger to themselves and others?

Thankfully the situation involving the threat made to UCLA personnel ended without anyone being harmed. But I find it disturbing that this man was reportedly released from a psychiatric facility last year despite evidence that he was clearly unwell and had allegedly expressed plans to kill.

Why do we continue to throw money at building shelters when the real problem is that these individuals are allowed to refuse treatment? Efforts should be focused on changing the law (specifically California’s Lanterman-Petris-Short Act) to make it easier to place into treatment individuals with serious mental illness and substance abuse disorders.

Some people’s wish to stay on the streets should not take precedence over everyone else’s right to stay alive.

Cyndi Kitchen, Manhattan Beach