California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) slammed gun control opponents in the wake of the state’s Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting in which a gunman killed three people and injured 12 others with an assault-style rifle.
At a press conference Tuesday outside Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, where several victims were taken, Newsom noted that the perpetrator of Sunday’s violence purchased the firearm in Nevada, “where you can buy this damn stuff legally.”
“How the hell is that possible?” he asked, visibly outraged. “I have no problem with the Second Amendment. You have a right to bear arms, but not weapons of goddamn mass destruction.”
Local police say the shooter used an “AK-47-type” rifle. Among the dead are a 6-year-old boy, a 13-year-old girl and a man in his 20s who had recently graduated from Keuka College in upstate New York.
Newsom told reporters that he visited the grandmother of the youngest victim and one survivor, a 12-year-old shot while playing in a bounce house.
“You talk to any nurse here ― Democrat, Republican nurses ― they’re like, ‘Man, are you guys asleep at the wheel. What we see every single damn night, do you have a clue the toll this takes on the human body?’ Give me a break you need these damn things for hunting.”
Sharing footage of his remarks on Twitter, Newsom called Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) inaction on gun legislation “sick,” rebuking “the leadership today that turns a blind eye and won’t do a thing to address the issue of gun violence,” and stating that the senator “should be ashamed of himself.”
“Today, the headlines will have moved on ― but we won’t,” Newsom said. “We need common-sense gun laws. Now.”
Though the shooter, a 19-year-old man, bought the weapon legally in Nevada, it is illegal to bring it into California. The issue is one California has grappled with for years ― the ability of criminals and other dangerous persons to obtain weapons in neighboring states and cross the border. In 2017, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives found that 1,554 firearms that turned up at California crime scenes had come from Nevada.
On Monday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) urged lawmakers to act.
“Enough is enough,” she said in a statement. “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. Every day the Senate refuses to act is a stain on the conscience of our nation.”