Thousand Oaks mass shooting sparks debate on gun control and officer safety

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — The Thousand Oaks mass shooting is sparking up debate about gun control. San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore believes in what he calls “comprehensive system,” while others say it’s not as simple as making new rules. 

As frightening as the Thousand Oaks bar shooting was, some say it has become the new normal in America.

"I just wonder how long as a country we’re going to allow these things to go on?” San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore said. 

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In an interview with KOGO Radio Friday morning, Sheriff Gore expressed his vexation with the incident that ended the lives of 12 people, including his brother in blue, Ventura County Sheriff's Sgt. Ron Helus.

Law enforcement professionals say Sgt. Helus followed police protocol, set after the 1999 Columbine shooting: Don't Wait for SWAT. Confront the shooter.

"Police officers learned over the years, from Luby’s Texas and Columbine, that the object of the whole situation is to save as much life as possible, and stop and neutralize the suspect,” Rick Carlson, a retired detective with the San Diego Police Department, said. “Waiting is not a good thing. The more you hear those gunshots, more people are going to die.”

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This was an act that undoubtedly saved dozens of lives, but cost him his own.

Susan Orfanos says her son Telemachus survived the Las Vegas massacre but never made it home from Thousand Oaks. 

She is not asking anymore. She is now demanding political change. 

"I don't want prayers. I don't want thoughts. I want gun control,” Orfanos said. 

Republican Sheriff Gore has been criticized in the past for advocating for what he calls a “common sense approach."

THOUSAND OAKS SHOOTING

“It doesn't mean you ban weapons,” he said. “Comprehensive background investigations of everybody that buys a gun. Mandatory reporting from mental health professionals into the database that keeps records on these issues."

But Carlson said a record would not stop a suspect who is set on hurting others, from finding another way.

“It's all a mental health issue. And it's a state of mind. People get angry. If they don't use a gun, they can use a vehicle. They can use incendiary devices,” Carlson said. 

Instead, he is advocating for compassion and understanding.

"We have to re-educate our society to take a step back and let's say 'People have different points of view, and they're all important,’” Carlson said. “We're going back to Neanderthal times when we bring violence into a conversation. It just doesn't work. It's not appropriate."

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