California's strict gun laws undercut by more lenient, neighboring states

Investigators say Santino Legan purchased the assault weapon used in the Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting Sunday nearly three weeks earlier from a firearms dealer in Fallon, Nevada. 

The owner of Big Mike's Gun and Ammo confirmed in a post on his Facebook page that the Gilroy High graduate purchased the AK-47 style weapon over the internet and came to pick it up at the business about 60 miles east of Reno.

"Good people have been hurt and this goes against everything I believe in. We are a small home business, we sell to people who we think are upstanding citizens to promote safe sport shooting," the owner's post stated.

Franklin Zimring, a UC Berkeley Law professor who specializes in gun laws and policy says Legan's July 9 purchase highlights the differences between state laws.

"If he were to walk into a California gun store he couldn't have purchased this weapon because they couldn't sell it to anyone," said Zimring.

California law bans the sale of assault weapons and it is generally illegal to possess assault weapons in the state. California also recently raised the minimum age to buy a rifle to 21 years of age from the previous age 18.

Legan was 19-years-old. 

In Nevada the minimum age is 18 to buy a gun and there is no ban on assault weapons.

Also, police said Monday they're still determining where Legan lived. If he was a California resident, California gun laws would apply to out-of-state sales.

"I've heard a couple different versions of the events as to whether he was living in Nevada still or whether he'd moved back to California and  don't have confirmation on which of those is the 
actually story at this point," said Gilroy Police Chief Scot Smithee.

Police also have not mentioned any criminal record or history of mental illness. 

The gun dealer said in his post, he saw no red flags.

"I did not know this individual. He ordered the rifle off my internet page. When I did see him, he was acting happy and showed no reasons for concern," said the Big Mike's Gun and Ammo owner in his Facebook statement.

"He seemed like all the other folks that buy guns from him. And that is of course, is the problem here," said Professor Zimring. He says simply relying on gun dealers is unreliable.

"People with very serious psychological and with homicidal intentions don't necessarily wear badges. And they don't necessarily have records," said Zimring.

California state lawmaker Phil Ting says he currently has a proposal to expand firearm restraining orders. 

"To expand it to people who are employers as well as people who you go to school with, to expand it from currently just law enforcement and family members," said Ting.

Gov. Gavin Newsom, after visiting with victims in the hospital, blasted Washington for not enacting more federal gun restrictions. 

"You've got people that are complicit in Washington, D.C., aren't doing a damn thing on these issues, a damn thing on these issues. And there are pundits that back them up. And the money that's part of all of this," Newsom said. "Shame on them."