Isla Vista residents and UC Santa Barbara leaders call for reasonable gun controls

Messages going out to government leaders

Isla Vista residents and UCSB student leaders stand in solidarity with those impacted by the Florida killings this week. (John Palminteri/

ISLA VISTA, Calif. - A gathering of Isla Vista residents, some who are students, along with UC Santa Barbara campus leaders held a vigil this evening in solidarity with those who were impacted by the Florida killings Tuesday.

17 school children and adults were killed in the rampage.

Isla Vista has had two major mass killings since 2001.   The most recent was the stabbing and shooting spree by Elliot Rodger that left six dead before he took his own life while fleeing Sheriff's deputies. 14 others were injured.

Ethan Bertrand with the Isla Vista Community Services District organized a group of students with candles and flowers to read off the names of those killed Tuesday and talk about controlling guns in America. 

He also said there have been many instances of the misuse of guns locally including killings in Santa Maria, two people shot in Santa Barbara - one fatally - January first, and an accidental shooting of a boy off East Camino Cielo Thursday.

They hoped government officials would firm up reasonable laws that balance the rights of gun owners with the risks of mentally unstable citizens owning guns and purchasing ammunition.

UC Santa Barbara Student Body President Hieu Le said the path he is supporting is not going to "squash" the rights of gun owners who are responsible with their weapons.

External Vice President Batsheva Labowe-Stoll talked about the killings saying there was a hate crime aspect to the assault.  She said 40 percent of those killed were Jewish.  

She said it was "hard to comprehend" the actions that took place in Parkland.

As a young woman in college Labowe-Stoll says she generally "feels safe in many ways" but is always concerned about her surroundings on and off campus.

The students called on common sense policies for background checks, and restrictions on the amount of ammunition someone can purchase.

They are planning to send cards and letters to Congressional leaders with their call for action - immediately for sensible gun legislation. They will also send messages to contacts they have in Florida where the attacks took place.

Those attending the vigil said they weigh their message on a scale against the rights of those who legally own weapons and handle them appropriately.

The National Rifle Association Foundation has not commented on the Florida killings.   Information released this week shows the NRA gave nearly $2.2 million to schools in 30 states. Cash grants were also given for gun safety programs for younger children and school air rifle teams.

The organization also gives money to the Boy Scouts, church and agriculture programs.

The Goleta Valley residents also remember the shooting rampage by Jennifer San Marco in 2006. She killed seven people before taking her life.  One was in a condo off Patterson, the others were inside a postal facility on Storke Road where the shooter used to work.  In that rampage San Marco committed suicide inside the facility.



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