DA calls on lawmakers to close loophole allowing mentally ill suspects to purchase guns

Posted at 1:13 PM, Aug 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-28 16:13:17-04

San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow is urging state lawmakers to fix a loophole in a new California law that would allow some mentally ill offenders to purchase firearms.

Assembly Bill 1810 became law on July 1, 2018. It expands the number of suspects who can be diverted to mental health treatment programs, but Dow says it also leaves open the possibility that someone selected for the program could buy a gun.

"So currently today, a mentally ill person who’s dangerous, who’s committed a crime, is able to legally purchase a firearm because they’re not prohibited and there’s no DOJ entry coming up in a database saying they should not purchase a firearm," Dow explained.  

He sent a letter to lawmakers Tuesday urging them to pass an amendment to the law before Friday at midnight when the current session of the state legislature ends.

"People on the left, on the right, in a bipartisan approach should all be able to agree that we’ve got to fix this loophole right now before one more tragedy happens in a school, in our community, in a theater, or at a gaming conference," Dow said. "The time is now for the legislature to act today."

Earlier this month, Dow sent a letter to lawmakers urging them to tighten other language in the same law so that those charged with murder, rape and other sex crimes would not be allowed to participate in mental health diversion programs.