UC Berkeley, California leaders mourn after ‘tragic and senseless’ Las Vegas shooting

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About 400 miles from Las Vegas, the site of one of the deadliest shootings in U.S. history, UC Berkeley flags were flown at half-staff this week to honor the victims.

Stephen Paddock killed at least 59 people and injured more than 500 before committing suicide Sunday, firing into a crowd of more than 20,000 concertgoers.

Several college campuses have felt the impact of the shooting. The University of Southern California went on lockdown Monday after USC professor Amy Granados falsely reported hearing gunshots while teaching a class, according to Daily Trojan news editor Tomás Mier.

Granados, according to Mier, had friends that were victims in the Las Vegas shooting. Granados ordered students to barricade the door, fearing that an active shooter was on campus. The Los Angeles Police Department detained Granados for questioning and a mental health evaluation, Mier said.

“It’s sad that we need to be ready for these types of things,” Mier said.

UCPD spokesperson Sgt. Sabrina Reich said in an email that UCPD annually trains officers in how to respond to active-shooter situations and teaches the community a response model by ALICE, an active-shooter response training organization.

According to Reich, while UCPD has a quick response time, active-shooter incidents are typically over in five to seven minutes.

“Whenever possible we advocate for people to try to Evacuate or Escape,” Reich said in an email.

Policymakers on gun control

In the wake of Sunday’s shooting, several California leaders have released statements in support of stronger gun control legislation. Gov. Jerry Brown called the shooting “tragic and senseless” in a statement issued Monday.

“Our prayers and deepest sympathies are with the families and loved ones of those killed and injured,” Brown said in the statement. “(We) stand with the people of Nevada in this difficult time.”

Both Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, and State Senator Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, said gun control laws should be implemented on a federal level. According to Skinner, California has an assault weapons ban, but she said the state is affected by more relaxed gun laws in other states.

“If we don’t have national standards, guns can be transferred from state to state,” Lee said.

According to campus law professor Franklin Zimring, who specializes in criminal justice, gun control measures enforced only within a state are not as effective. Zimring explained that a significant number of guns are first sold in other states and then brought into California, although most guns used for crime are originally bought within the state.

Skinner recommends that the U.S. Congress require background checks for gun purchases and reinstate the federal assault weapons ban that expired in 2004.

When the number of guns increases, so does the amount of violence, Lee said. She added that people need to move forward to achieve a country free of gun violence.

“This is about getting the weapons of war off our streets,” Lee said. “Violence does beget violence.”

Contact Henry Tolchard at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @htolchard.