California Governor Gavin Newsom described commonly owned civilian semiautomatic rifles in sharp terms Monday, after one was used in a mass shooting in Gilroy, California.
Governor Newsom said that the semi-auto rifle was a “G** damn weapon of mass destruction.”
Santino Legan, 19, used a WASR10 semiautomatic rifle to kill 4 and wound 12 at a garlic food festival in northern California. The WASR10 is a “sporterized” AK-47 style rifle, a rough equivalent to the AK of an AR-15 to the military M16 rifle. Like the AR, it only has semi-auto fire capability, separating it from a true military-style assault rifle such as the AK-47 or M16.
The WASR10 is designated as an assault rifle under California law and banned, insofar as it includes a pistol grip and 30-round magazine. However, the shooter simply traveled to Nevada to buy a WASR from a Nevada gun shop, revealing the state’s laws to be simply ineffective when it comes to stopping malevolent and criminal individuals from buying rifles.
Speaking to reporters at a Santa Clara hospital, Newsom said that “you can’t put borders up, speaking of borders, to a neighboring state where you can buy this damn stuff legally. How in the hell is that possible? I have no problem with the 2nd Amendment, you have a right to bear arms but not weapons of goddamned mass destruction.”
Referring to a civilian rifle as a ‘weapon of mass destruction’ is dramatic at best, and dishonest at worst. Newsom seemed totally oblivious to the reality that the weapon used in the shooting was already illegal under California law, instead choosing to blame the federal government for failing to ban such firearms nationally.
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