Thousand Oaks, California –-(Ammoland.com)- Tragedy struck at a college country night at Borderline Bar and Grill located in Thousand Oaks, California 40 miles northwest of Los Angeles.
Ian David Long walked into the crowded Southern California bar dressed in black and opened fired on the revelers with his .45 caliber Glock 21 pistol. The 28-year-old Marine vet killed 12 people. There have been reports he used smoke bombs to sow chaos in the panicked crowd.
Long was thought to be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder stemming from his deployment from his deployment in Afghanistan between 2010 and 2011.
Shocked bar patrons dialed 911 and two on-duty police officers were on the scene within three minutes, but the carnage was far from done. Long shot and killed Ventura County Sgt. Ron Helus, who was one year away from retirement after serving on the force for 29-years. His body was dragged out of the line of fire by another patrol officer.
Shortly after the firefight, Long turned the gun on himself and committed suicide bringing the horrific event to an end.
Sgt Helus was the first on-duty police officer on the scene, but there were six off-duty cops from multiple agencies at the bar when the shooting started. None of the law enforcement officers who were at the bar were armed at the time of the shooting.
As of this writing, it is unknown to why these officers were not armed. State law cannot prevent an off-duty police officer from carrying a gun due to the Law Enforcement Safety Act of 2000, but these officer’s agencies can enact policies about carrying a firearm off-duty. AmmoLand does not yet know these officer’s agencies.
When Long began his rampage, he was also the only one armed in the bar. California has some of the most restrictive concealed carry laws in the country. It is a “may issue” state.
In most California jurisdictions, a person who wants a concealed carry permit must demonstrate a significant and direct risk to their lives before the local law enforcement agency will approve a permit clearing the way for one to be issued. Ventura County where the shooting took place is one of these counties. Ultimately, the local head of law enforcement gets to decide who has the right to protect themselves with a gun and who doesn’t.
Long also has a history with the police. In April police responded to his apartment when a neighbor, Tom Hanson, called police after hearing loud banging coming from Long’s apartment.
“I didn’t know if he was hurting himself,” Tom Hanson told reporters.
Police reported him acting irrationally in an irate manner. A mental health professional examined him and felt he did not meet the criteria for involuntary commitment to a mental health facility for a psychiatric evaluation. “Everything seemed to go back to normal after that,” Hanson said.
Involuntary commitments have declined at a steady rate since 1975. Social scientists believe the decline was due to the change of public opinion on mental health institutions. They tie the changing perceptions on involuntary commitment due to the impact of the ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ movie that was based on the book of the same name.
Many psychiatrists have urged politicians to reform the mental health system, but politicians have refused to act as it is easier to blame a tool than to get to the real root of the problems.
As of now, police have not released any motives in the attack. Although attackers did assault Long in 2015 in another Thousand Oaks bar, police have not concluded if that played a role in this attack.
About John Crump
John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. He is the former CEO of Veritas Firearms, LLC and is the co-host of The Patriot News Podcast which can be found at www.blogtalkradio.com/patriotnews. John has written extensively on the patriot movement including 3%’ers, Oath Keepers, and Militias. In addition to the Patriot movement, John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and is currently working on a book on leftist deplatforming methods and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss, on Facebook at realjohncrump, or at www.crumpy.com.