A Heartbreaking Night in CA


November 8, 2018: Last night’s tragic shooting at Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, CA hits close to home for all of us working to reduce gun violence in California. Twelve people including a sheriff’s deputy have lost their lives and we mourn with their families and loved ones. Our college students and young people should feel safe enjoying a night out with friends and never fear a mass shooting.

As information continues to come in, here is what we know so far:

  • 12 people were shot and killed in the mass shooting; many more are injured.
  • There were at least 200 people inside Borderline Bar and Grill.
  • The shooter, a 28-year-old military veteran, honorably discharged from the United States Marine Corps in 2013, is dead, apparently having shot himself.
  • The firearm used was a Glock 21 .45 caliber handgun; at least 30 shots were fired.
  • The firearm was purchased legally but had a large capacity ammunition magazine which is illegal in California.
  • In April 2018, the shooter was interviewed by police and mental health professionals who didn’t believe he qualified for a 5150 hold, the California law to involuntarily hold individuals due to mental illness who may pose a danger to themselves, others and require inpatient psychiatric care. The law also requires temporary relinquishment of firearms.

Were there signs that family, friends, and others knew about what the shooter was going to do? We are hearing news reports that the shooter's mother was concerned by his behavior. While we still need more information on what led to the shooting, it’s possible that California’s “Gun Violence Restraining Order” (GVRO) law could have made a difference. The GVRO law, that took effect in 2016, allows family members and law enforcement to get a court order to temporarily remove guns from loved ones at risk of harming themselves or others. It’s a law to PREVENT gun death and injury. We’ll be looking for more information in the coming days once family members have been interviewed by law enforcement. 

We’ve all had #Enough of gun violence. It’s why the Hope and Heal Fund made a grant to the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence to develop a training program for law enforcement and courts to better implement this law. Please also visit www.speakforsafety.org to learn more about how GVROs can save lives and prevent shootings. While we mourn, it’s vital that we take action to prevent future gun deaths.

Gun violence is an epidemic that reaches well beyond mass shootings and Hope and Heal will continue to fight for safe communities and safe homes. If you, or your friends or family, would like to honor the victims, a vigil will be held tonight in Thousand Oaks.