CA Social Workers Speak Out After Latest Gun Massacre

The Thousand Oaks shooting is the deadliest in California since the San Bernardino massacre in 2015. Photo Credit: Rich Legg/iStockphoto

Suzanne Potter
California News Service

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Social workers are expressing sorrow, and solidarity with the victims of the shooting massacre in Thousand Oaks.

It claimed 13 lives, including a police officer and the gunman, whom officials believe took his own life.

The California chapter of the National Association of Social Workers is also calling for more public awareness around gun-violence restraining orders.

Rebecca Gonzales, director of government relations and political affairs with NASW in California, says these so-called “red-flag laws” can really make a difference.

“I have no idea if that would help in this case, but I think that Californians need to know that these gun violence restraining orders are out there and if they do have concerns about their loved ones, that they should look into trying to get an order,” says Gonzales.

Gonzales says social workers are very active in areas of mental-health advocacy, as the biggest providers of mental-health services in the country. They also advocate for gun-violence prevention measures that they believe will help make communities safer.

NASW is also pushing for Congress to repeal the Dickey Amendment, a law that prohibits federal funding for research on gun violence – a step that Gonzales says could provide some answers.

“We really need more research to find out why this happens,” says Gonzales. “We need to figure out how we can stop these terrible shootings. We have to figure out how to more appropriately identify who really is at risk of this kind of violence.”

This is the 307th mass shooting this year in the United States.

California has some of the strictest gun laws in the country, but they don’t prohibit the type of weapon used in this case – a Glock 21, 45-caliber handgun that police say was purchased legally.

It was outfitted with an extended magazine, which are illegal in California if they accommodate more than 10 rounds.