LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — In the wake of the deadly shootings at Santa Monica College, investigators are working to determine how the alleged gunman was able to obtain an assault rifle used in the shooting spree that left five people dead and five others injured.
Police believe 23-year-old John Zawahiri used ammunition magazines loaded with 1,300 rounds in the attacks on and around the campus along Pico Boulevard, which reopened with additional security Monday for students to finish their final exams.
Gun control advocates have raised questions about how a young man who allegedly threatened students and teachers during his time at Santa Monica High School was able to acquire a firearm that has been illegal in the state of California since 1989.
But UCLA Law Professor Adam Winkler told KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO the public shouldn’t be so quick to look to Sacramento or Washington for a “knee-jerk” legislative solution.
“I don’t think there’s any gun control law we can adopt that’s gonna stop a crazed madman from killing a lot of people,” said Winkler. “One of the problems with the state-based firearms laws…is that people can easily go into Nevada and Arizona and buy firearms there and bring them back. They’re not supposed to be allowed to do that.”
Mass killings similar to those that have taken place at Santa Monica College, Virgina Tech University and other so-called “gun-free zones” may actually serve to bolster gun rights supporters who say the more Americans exercise their Second Amendment rights, the safer the public will be, according to Winkler, who wrote “Gunfight: The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms in America”.
“There’s certainly some logic to it…if more people are armed, there’s likely to be someone who might stand up and defend themselves,” Winkler said.
However, he cautioned that an exponential increase in armed citizens could increase the number of gun accidents and possibly complicate police response efforts to any shooting as officers may not be able to determine who to target.
By increasing efforts to reduce the daily death toll from firearms violence, Winkler believes more long-term gains will be made in the area of public safety.
“If we can take those 30-odd people who die every day at the hands of firearms and reduce that number by one or two, we’ve made a big impact on a lot of people’s lives,” he said.