Julio Gonzalez, M.D., J.D.
America woke up this morning to the news of yet another mass shooting, this time at Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, California. The shooting left twelve dead, plus the gunman, who appeared to have committed suicide according to a press conference held by Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean.
This time, the lone gunman was a former Marine who used a Glock 21 .45-caliber with an illegal, extended magazine. The gunman, a 28-year-old male did have prior contacts with police, but none were serious. Sheriff Dean, who was on his last day on the job when as held the press conference, was able to confirm that the gunman legally owned the weapon, but that the extended magazine was illegal in California. In a seemingly unrelated incident in April, police were called to the gunman's home over reports of a disturbance. They found him acting irrationally, resulting in a crisis intervention on the part of authorities, but he was released once he was cleared of being an imminent threat.
The shooting at the Borderline Bar & Grill took place at about 11:20 pm local time during a "college night" event where 100-150 people were in attendance. There were multiple reports of clients shattering windows and evacuating the premises as the shooting was taking place. Reports of smoke bombs were also made.
One of the first officers at the scene was Sergeant Ron Helus, a 29 year veteran of the force who was fatally shot when he entered the restaurant to confront the gunman.
The incident is sure to revive the ongoing debate over gun regulation and the Second Amendment. This event, however, does not fit many of the narratives on either side in the issue. For one, the shooter legally owned his weapon, and thus far, short of one incident involving a domestic disturbance has not been demonstrated to have ongoing mental health issues. Sheriff Dean did suggest the gunman could be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, but as of yet, there is no public information to confirm that suggestion.
Although the gun was legally owned, the gunman employed an illegal gun accessory. The Glock-45 is a semi-automatic weapon and not a long arm or a rifle.
Events are still developing in this story.
Dr. Julio Gonzalez is an orthopaedic surgeon and lawyer living in Venice, Florida. He is the author of The Federalist Pages and serves in the Florida House of Representatives. He can be reached through www.thefederalistpages.com to arrange a lecture or book signing.