Why Did Thousand Oaks Shooter Ian Long Have Legal Access to Firearms?

The Marine Corps released a statement say that Long served from 2008 to 2013, including a 2010-11 deployment to Afghanistan.

Experts say California has the strictest gun laws in the country, so should any of those laws have prevented Thousand Oaks gunman Ian Long from legally obtaining a weapon and killing 12 people at the Borderline Bar and Grill on Nov. 7?

Only a month ago, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law greater restrictions on who can obtain a firearm in the most populous state in the United States. Those new restrictions came in the wake of a deadly high school shooting in Parkland, Florida, where 17 students and faculty members lost their lives.

Law enforcement says Long was known to them and that neighbors had expressed concern about possible mental health issues, but authorities say that the gun Long used to kill 12 people was obtained legally.

The Ventura County Sheriff's Department, though, says it had multiple run-ins with the 28-year-old suspect.

"We've had several contact with Mr. Long over the years," VCSD's Geoff Dean said. "Minor events such as a traffic collision, he was the victim of battery at a local bar in 2015."

In April, the VCSD was called to Long's home after a neighbor called and reported a disturbance.

Regarding the April incident, Dean said, "(Long) was somewhat irate, acting irrationally. They called out our crisis interaction team -- our mental health specialists -- who met with him, talked to him and cleared him. [The team] didn't feed he was qualified to be taken under 5150, and he was left at the scene."


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The Marine Corps released a statement say that Long served from 2008 to 2013, including a 2010-11 deployment to Afghanistan. There is no documentation showing Long had any mental health issues, but his next door neighbor told NBC4 she had concerns and even mentioned the possibility of "Post Traumatic Stress Disorder," which is commonly called "PTSD."

"(Long) was having a hard time," Danica, a neighbor, said. "He was being violent."

The I-Team found, however, that none of Long's actions would have necessarily prevented the suspect from acquiring a gun like the .45-caliber handgun law enforcement say was purchased legally and used in Wednesday's shooting.

According to Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, in California, someone is generally banned for five years from getting or having a gun if they have been taken into custody, evaluated and admitted to a facility because they are a threat to themselves or others, or if they communicate to a licensed psychotherapist a serious threat of violence against someone.

If someone has been certified for intensive treatment or a judge determines they're a threat to others as a result of a mental disorder or illness, that person would face a lifetime ban from weapons.

In addition, families can also get involved. Following the 2014 shooting and stabbing rampage in Isla Vista, the law was changed to allow law enforcement officers or family members to ask a court for a restraining order against a person believed to be a threat and barring his or her possession of firearms for 21 days.

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