A resolution calling upon Santa Barbara County residents to wear orange this weekend in recognition of the National Gun Violence Awareness Day weekend was approved Tuesday by the Board of Supervisors, but the vote was not unanimous.
The Wear Orange Day Weekend resolution was adopted on a 4-0-1 vote, with 4th District Supervisor Peter Adam abstaining.
Adam said he thinks everyone can agree gun violence is a bad thing, but somehow didn't agree with the resolution.
“I think some of my colleagues have a different idea of what I call common sense,” Adam said.
Although he didn't elaborate on what that difference is, he said he could not buy into their position and would abstain from voting.
After the resolution was adopted, it was accepted by Toni Wellen from the Coalition Against Gun Violence, who told the board firearms are the leading cause of death among children and teens.
“Tragically, the number of deaths from firearms increased to 40,000 in 2018,” she said. “When I started [with the coalition] it was 30,000.”
First District Supervisor Das Williams told the audience the coalition will conduct a gun buy-back at 8 a.m. Saturday, June 15, at the Earl Warren Showgrounds in Santa Barbara, and he advised people who want to participate to arrive early.
In the buy-backs held over the past five years, the coalition has run out of gift certificates used to buy the firearms within about two hours, but it has taken in 1,100 guns, which were then “properly destroyed.”
Williams said anyone who has inherited a firearm and doesn’t know what to do with it or those who no longer have an interest in firearms should bring them to the buy-back.
“Unsecured weapons stored for a long time are a significant source of accidental deaths,” Williams said. “[Having] weapons floating around the community is not a good idea.”
The resolution notes the Wear Orange campaign was started by high school students on Chicago’s Southside to commemorate the loss of their 15-year-old friend and classmate Hadiya Pendleton, who was shot and killed just a week after performing at President Barack Obama’s second inaugural parade in 2013.
Orange was chosen to bring awareness to gun violence because it is the color hunters wear in the woods to protect themselves and others from being shot by mistake.
South County's mass killings
The resolution also notes Isla Vista, Santa Barbara and the nation continue to grieve over the May 23, 2014, mass shooting that left six dead.
According to the Sheriff’s Office report, 14 people were wounded by a 22-year-old man armed with three handguns, a knife and his car.
Three of the six UCSB students who were killed were stabbed and three were shot. Seven of the wounded were shot and seven were struck by the man’s car.
The man traded shots with sheriff’s deputies twice before crashing his car and shooting himself.
But that wasn’t the only mass killing in the Santa Barbara area in recent times.
On Jan. 30, 2006, a 44-year-old woman fatally shot her former neighbor in Santa Barbara, then drove to the Goleta mail processing facility where she previously worked.
There, she shot and killed six more people before committing suicide.
On Feb. 23, 2001, an 18-year-old man killed four people and wounded one in Isla Vista by driving his car at an estimated 60 mph into a crowd of people.
The man who survived died in October 2016 after years of seizures caused by his head injuries.
Convicted of four counts of second-degree murder but judged legally insane, the driver was sentenced to 60 years in a state mental hospital.