Look into ways to prevent people from falling through the cracks

Nearly all the mass murders that have occurred in the United States during recent years have been committed by deeply disturbed people who “fell through the cracks” of laws intended to keep them from killing. Yet many politicians continue to insist severe new limits on gun ownership are the way to prevent such tragedies.

It was clear weeks ago that 22-year-old Elliot Rodgers was a ticking time bomb. But nothing was done to stop him from killing six people in a rampage a few days ago near Santa Barbara, Calif.

California places 72-hour “temporary mental holds” on more than 100,000 people a year. That gives the authorities time to determine whether someone they suspect is a threat to himself or others should be detained and treated longer. Most states have similar laws.

Journalists have begun looking into how Rodgers was able to deceive sheriff’s deputies who conducted a “welfare check” on him a few weeks ago. Meanwhile, the inevitable demands for new restrictions on gun ownership – by everyone, not just the mentally ill – are surging.

Instead of drawing up lists of hundreds of types of firearms they believe should be banned, those truly worried about “gun violence” should be compiling lists of ways people like Rodgers avoid being taken into custody.