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Mourners hugged at the IV Deli Mart, where part of Friday night’s mass shooting took place, in the Isla Vista area near Goleta, Calif.

Chris Carlson • Associated Press,

California debates gun law changes as students return

  • Article by: Raquel Maria Dillon and Don Thompson
  • Associated Press
  • May 28, 2014 - 7:42 PM

– Students returned to classes Wednesday at the University of California, Santa Barbara, after the weekend rampage that left six students and their assailant dead in nearby Isla Vista.

In Sacramento, legislators debated ways to prevent troubled people from getting guns.

Some students were eager to resume academic routines. Others still struggled to cope with the tragedy.

“Sometimes you’re walking down the street and you feel like giving everybody a hug,” said Kelly Frances Dilnessa, 23, of Oroville.

Three students were stabbed to death, three were fatally shot, and 13 others were wounded Friday night in the attack by Elliot Rodger, 22, a community college student who had posted an Internet video outlining his plan to kill as many people as possible.

Rodger’s guns were legal

Rodger had legally obtained three semiautomatic handguns and still had 400 unspent rounds of ammunition when he shot himself, authorities said.

Richard Martinez, whose son Christopher Michaels-Martinez, 20, died in the attack, spoke at a memorial service Tuesday. He urged students to fight for tougher gun laws and blamed what he called the inaction of politicians.

“They have done nothing, and that’s why Chris died,” Martinez said.

He exhorted the crowd to chant “Not one more,” in reference to such attacks.

In Sacramento, two California Assembly members proposed legislation that would create a gun violence restraining order that could be sought from a judge by law enforcement at the request of family members and friends.

“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.

Currently, therapists can tell authorities when they fear a client is at risk of committing a violent act. However, there is no prohibition on firearms ownership unless someone has been involuntarily committed for mental health treatment.

Another proposal involves establishing statewide protocols for law enforcement officers who are called to check on mentally troubled people.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, suggested that authorities should be required as part of such welfare visits to check whether a person has purchased weapons instead of just talking to the person.

Searches also considered

Additional steps could include searching the individual’s surroundings and talking to roommates, neighbors and relatives, he said.

“There is a lot we can do to prevent these kinds of horrific events in the future,” said Steinberg, who has focused on mental health concerns.

State senators eulogized the students killed in the weekend violence and expressing frustration that such rampages continue despite previous efforts to end the problem.

The rampage came a month after sheriff’s deputies had visited Rodger after his parents became concerned about his postings on YouTube.

© 2014 Star Tribune