Readers React: Think before acting to prevent another Isla Vista


Renée Binder calls for the enactment of a Gun Violence Restraining Order in California for people like the Isla Vista shooter, whose mother had alerted law enforcement that her son was facing a mental health crisis. (“California needs a Gun Violence Restraining Order,” Opinion, May 26)

We all would like to prevent tragedies like the recent one in Isla Vista, but such a law could easily do more harm than good.

What typifies shooters like Elliott Rodger is extreme frustration over what they feel is a lack of control over important aspects of their lives. If, having not yet committed a crime, they are dragged into court or a mental health facility, this could easily exacerbate their frustration.


Such a law would be undermined completely if there were even one case in which an unstable individual committed mass murder not long after having been restrained — a likely possibility.

Robert Epstein


The writer is a senior research psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology.

Binder states that California has the ninth-lowest rate of gun death in the country. What she did not mention is that in 2012, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, California had the 18th-highest murder rate, not a good place to be considering Binder’s contention that California has made great strides in gun control laws.

Her suggestion regarding restraining orders is beyond the pale. Consider the bureaucracy, lawyers, court time, duration to obtain and a person’s ability to defend himself against arbitrary accusations. The time and money alone would be prohibitive.


Who is to initiate this, and who is to pay the lawyers? Would the accused be entitled to a public defender?

This suggestion is silly.

Robert Braley


I am a proponent of gun control, but I understand that it is very unlikely more laws will be passed any time soon.

Every time a terrible massacre takes place, gun rights activists dig in their heels and the National Rifle Assn. explains why not enough people are armed. We hear about the necessity of arming the “good” guys to defend ourselves from the “bad” guys.

I am not sure how we recognize one group from the other, as the guns used in these massacres are often bought legally. The argument, however, appears to be effective for many.

But mass shooters have one thing in comment: They have huge quantities of ammunition.

In California, our purchases of certain over-the-counter medications are controlled. Could this not also be implemented for ammunition?

Becky Martin

Simi Valley