A shooter who injured 15 individuals and killed three others at a garlic food festival in Gilroy, California, would not have legally been allowed to purchase the gun he used in the state where the crime was committed.
Instead, 19-year-old Santino William Legan, the man identified as the shooter in Sunday’s attack, purchased the gun in Nevada, according to reporting from The Guardian. Police responded to sounds of gunfire from Legan, who was shot and killed by the authorities upon them identifying him as the assailant.
Unfortunately, his massacre took less than a minute to carry out. Among the three individuals who were killed were two minors, a six-year-old boy and a 13-year-old girl.
The gun used in the shooting was an “AK-47-style” weapon, according to witnesses. The sale of the type of weapon he used would not be allowed in California, but is perfectly legal to purchase in surrounding states.
Legan would not have been allowed to purchase a gun in general in the Golden State — California prohibits purchases from individuals who are under 21 years of age. In Nevada, however, the purchase was legitimate — anyone older than 18 may buy a gun, per reporting from the Sacramento Bee.
A tragedy! Thank you to @GilroyPD for preventing a worse massacre. California has toughest gun laws in the nation. It doesn’t matter if there isn’t federal action. “Gunman in Gilroy mass shooting bought ‘assault-type rifle’ legally in Nevada, police say” https://t.co/2qrmg8t2Dm
— Ash Kalra 🌱 (@Ash_Kalra) July 29, 2019
The issue highlights a problem for many states and municipalities across the nation: without a uniform set of gun laws established at the federal level, attempts to strengthen gun laws in one state are rendered moot because of inaction within another.
The same problem exists in Chicago, where police have noted in previous city-sanctioned reports that a majority of gun crimes in the city involve guns that were purchased outside of its jurisdiction, and indeed outside of Illinois itself.
The issue has prompted several lawmakers in Congress, including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-California), to call for changes. Pelosi spoke out after the shooting on Sunday evening, which occurred in her home state.
“Enough is enough,” Pelosi said. “Congress has a responsibility to every family torn apart by gun violence to act, and help advance a future that is finally free from this senseless violence.”
Earlier this year, the House of Representatives voted in favor of a gun bill that would have strengthened background check rules, per reporting from USA Today. The measure was tabled in the Senate, effectively killing the bill.
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Chris Walker is a freelance writer based out of Madison, Wisconsin. A millennial with more than a decade of journalism experience, Chris aims to provide readers with the latest and most accurate news of national importance. Chris likes to spend his free time doing activities in his community with his family.