Massacre in Santa Monica

In California, state laws regulating firearms are stricter than those in Connecticut. However, they were unable to prevent someone with mental problems from carrying out a massacre with an AR-15 rifle and thousands of bullets.

The story of the Santa Monica tragedy has much to do with mental health, but also with the dtifficulties of implementing gun-control laws.

California has strict laws, especially regarding these types of assault weapons. Nevertheless, there are too many ways to evade these laws, whether by modifying the weapons to change their definition, buying them online or even assembling them. For example, yesterday the San Francisco city attorney filed a lawsuit against three retailers that disassembled rifles with high-capacity magazines to sell them as easy-to-assemble “repair kits.”

Unavoidably, there will be those who argue that gun control laws do not prevent these massacres and therefore have no reason for being. This is a fallacious argument, since then we can say that laws against murder do not prevent killing and have no reason to exist.

The Santa Monica case reveals the difficulties of properly implementing state laws given the existence of the weapons industry—which looks for ways to dodge these laws—and a lack of uniformity, since people can turn to other jurisdictions. The problem is not that there are too many laws, but that there are legal loopholes and too many ways to evade them.

The six-month anniversary of the Sandy Hook school massacre is coming up. The killings in Santa Monica are a tragic sign that our society and especially the federal political system are unable to take any action to prevent this type of tragedy.